Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access

No Name, no Gain? The Role of Family Politicization in Belgian Election Candidates’ Perception of their initial Selection Criteria

Hilde Van Liefferinge, Carl Devos, Kristof Steyvers

Full Text: PDF



Family politicization remains a prominently present background feature of politicians in Western democracies. Largely related to politicized upbringing, this characteristic has mostly been studied from the supply-side of the recruitment process. In this article we intend to look at it from a demand-side perspective. Starting from the premise that political family candidates occupy a unique position among other first-time candidates because of an internal (within the party) and external (towards the electorate) name recognition advantage, we look for variation in Belgian federal candidates’ perception of their initial most important selection criteria. Results indicate that the more candidates’ families were politicized, the more they mention exposure-related criteria (especially name recognition) and the less they refer to skills-related criteria. Using a stepwise binary logistic regression model to test competing hypotheses and control for relevant background characteristics, family politicization appears to be an independent predictor of how candidates perceive their initial selection criteria.

Keywords: candidate selection – selection criteria – family politicization – name recognition – Belgium