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Candidacy in Institutional Context: The Nested Rule System for Seeking Elective Office in the United States

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Zeemering, Eric S.
Conference: Institutional Analysis and Development Mini-Conference and TransCoop Meeting
Location: Bloomington, Indiana
Conf. Date: December
Date: 2002
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/9325
Sector: Social Organization
Region: North America
Subject(s): decision making
institutional analysis--IAD framework
Abstract: "Here, in three parts, I address the institutional environment that individuals face when deciding to run for elective office in the United States. First, I argue candidacy must be understood in the context of U.S. federalism. Making a decision to run for office is contextual to the unique features of the local community of the individual and the nature of the office. The existing literature on candidacy will also be reviewed. Second, candidacy will be considered as an institution, and the Institutional Analysis and Development (IAD) framework will be used to define the components of the institution. This analysis will describe three linked action arenas in which candidacy decisions are made, and two cases will be used to evaluate the adequacy of the model. Finally, the IAD model of candidacy will be discussed in light of existing research and future research possibilities will be considered. This theoretical inquiry and definitional analysis demonstrates that individual decisions on becoming a candidate for electoral office are made in the context of a federal system. The decisions are made on the basis of rules, community features, features of the physical world, and an evaluation of potential results. Ultimately, each candidacy decision is unique to its local context and its place in the federal system, but can be systematically evaluated using the IAD framework. The goal is a broad framework for developing hypotheses and fostering empirical research to direct attention back to candidacy."

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