Voting on Abortion in the House of Commons: A Test for Legislator Shirking
Using an agency theory approach, this paper examines the tightness of the links in the relationship between Canadian Members of Parliament (MPs) and their respective constituents. The paper focuses on a 1988 parliamentary free vote on the abortion issue. It finds that MP voting on this issue did not appear to be influenced by the preferences of constituents, but was significantly influenced by the personal ideologies of the MPs themselves. Under an agency theory view, these results can be interpreted as evidence of "shirking" behaviour by legislators. Futhermore, to the extent that legislator shirking was found to exist, this shirking was more likely in constituencies where greater constituent-legislator slack was present. Greater constituent-legislator slack lowers the political cost to the legislator of engaging in shirking, since such shirking behaviour is less likely to be punished by constituents.
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Volume (Year): 25 (1999)
Issue (Month): 4 (December)
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