From Fat to Obese: Political Dynasties after the 2019 Midterm Elections

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How did political dynasties fare in the 2019 midterm elections? This paper extends and analyzes the Ateneo Policy Center’s political dynasties dataset, covering the period from 1988 to 2019. It finds evidence that over the past 30 years (or 10 election periods), political dynasties have become fatter. Covering all local positions, the percentage of fat dynasties has increased from 19% in 1988 to 29% in 2017, growing at about 1%, or around 170 positions, per election period. In 2001, there were 1303 political clans with 2 family members, 257 political clans with 3 family members, and 157 political clans with 4 or more family members. These numbers have risen to 1443, 335 and 189, respectively, in 2010, and to 1548, 339, and 217, respectively in 2019. It is clear that fat political dynasties continue their domination and expansion in the Philippine political landscape; and this has serious implications on the state of competition in Philippine politics, governance and ultimately development outcomes.