Political Science ETDs

Publication Date



Explaining legislative behavior in the Mexico represents a puzzle given the state of existing theory. Despite a ban on consecutive reelection, Mexican legislators engage in many behaviors thought to be the result of seeking reelection. Furthermore, existing theories of progressive ambition also cannot explain the tendency of many Mexican legislators to seek less prestigious offices after serving for a single term. This dissertation develops a novel theory of political ambition that accounts for the movement up and down the career ladder by Mexican federal legislators, and highlights several behavioral implications of the pursuit of political careers in a context where reelection to the same office is not possible. To test the theory, I collected data on the past and future career choices of all federal deputies who served from 1997 to 2009, as well as data on bill sponsorship, pork-barreling, and roll-call voting. The empirical chapters then examine the influence of electoral competition on careers and behavior, career patterns among deputies and the factors that shape and constrain particular career paths, how pork-barreling and bill sponsorship relates to the individual career goals of deputies, and how the pursuit of a political career in this environment encourages frequent party switching. The findings indicate that federal deputies are loyal to those who put them in office and to those who control their future careers. Furthermore, where deputies seek future office matters, as it shapes their behavior while in office.

Degree Name

Political Science

Level of Degree


Department Name

Political Science

First Committee Member (Chair)

Hochstetler, Kathryn

Second Committee Member

Rocca, Michael S.

Third Committee Member

McCann, James




Politicians -- Mexico, Ambition -- Political aspects -- Mexico

Document Type