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Familial Capital and Political Careers in Brazil: Gender, Party and Region of Origin on the Road to the Chamber of Deputies

Political careers in Brazil, as in other countries, are highly endogenous. Many enter politics through their parents, spouses or other close relatives who already hold elected seats or other high positions in the Executive branch. This article analyzes the political strategies of elected officials for the Brazilian Chamber of Deputies in the last three elections (2002, 2006 and 2010), observing the presence of other types of original political capital, including familial. The data indicates that the existence of a political family is the second main entryway to the Chamber of Deputies, second to economic capital. This form of capital is stronger among women, among those elected by right-wing parties and those elected in the Northeast region, yet this is not less relevant for men, those elected by left-wing parties or in other regions of the country.

political careers; gender; political representation; Chamber of Deputies

Instituto de Estudos Sociais e Políticos (IESP) da Universidade do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (UERJ) R. da Matriz, 82, Botafogo, 22260-100 Rio de Janeiro RJ Brazil, Tel. (55 21) 2266-8300, Fax: (55 21) 2266-8345 - Rio de Janeiro - RJ - Brazil