Multiple Principals and Legislative Cohesion

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Authors Stephen A. Meserve, Joseph W. Robbins, Frank C. Thames
Paper Category
Paper Abstract In many systems, legislators find themselves accountable to multiple, collective principals. This article seeks to answer to question – how do legislators decide between collective principals and what conditions force legislators to chose one over the other? We argue that electoral uncertainty, operationalized as electoral volatility, pushes legislators towards the collective principal that has the greatest influence over their reelection. Using European Union electoral results and roll-call data from the 2nd-6th European Parliaments, we show that increases in electoral volatility undermine parliamentary group cohesion and push legislators to side with the positions of their national parties over their parliamentary group when the two disagree.
Date of publication 2015
Code Programming Language R

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