The effects of uncontested elections on legislator performance

David M. Konisky, Michiko Ueda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Political competition lies at the core of representative democracy. Yet, uncompetitive elections and uncontested races are widespread in the United States, particularly at the state level. In this article, we analyze the consequences of uncontested elections on lawmaking activity. Our primary hypothesis is that legislators who run unopposed are less active lawmakers than those who were selected through competitive elections. Studying roll-call vote participation and bill introduction and enactment for most of the U.S. states for 1999-2000, we find that state legislators elected in unopposed elections perform more poorly compared to their colleagues elected in competitive contests.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)199-229
Number of pages31
JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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