Longevity returns to political office

Sebastian Barfort, Robert Klemmensen, Erik Gahner Larsen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Does political office cause worse or better longevity prospects? Two perspectives in the literature offer contradicting answers. First, increased income, social status, and political connections obtained through holding office can increase longevity. Second, increased stress and working hours associated with holding office can have detrimental effects on longevity. To provide causal evidence, we exploit a regression discontinuity design with unique data on the longevity of candidates for US gubernatorial office. The results show that politicians winning a close election live 5-10 years longer than candidates who lose.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Science Research and Methods
Issue number3
Pages (from-to)658-664
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • Comparative politics: political behavior
  • comparative politics: political institutions
  • elections and campaigns
  • experimental research
  • political psychology


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