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Crime and punishment the British way: Accountability channels following the MPs’ expenses scandal

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  • Larcinese, Valentino
  • Sircar, Indraneel

Abstract

Does democracy make politicians accountable? And which role does information play in the accountability process? There are several reasons making the 2009 UK expenses scandal an ideal setting to answer these questions. Our study of the scandal reaches two main conclusions: 1) the removal of corrupt politicians happens mostly at the pre-election stage; 2) information availability is a crucial ingredient in the accountability process. We also show that punishment was directed to individual MPs rather than their parties and that voters displayed a substantial partisan bias, not only at the voting stage but also by perceiving co-partisan MPs to be less involved in the scandal. Ceteris paribus, female MPs attracted more press coverage and, for the same amount of coverage, were more likely to stand down. Finally, we show that press coverage was ideologically balanced, i.e., newspapers with different ideological leaning devoted similar amount of news to each MP.

Suggested Citation

  • Larcinese, Valentino & Sircar, Indraneel, 2017. "Crime and punishment the British way: Accountability channels following the MPs’ expenses scandal," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 47(C), pages 75-99.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:47:y:2017:i:c:p:75-99
    DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2016.12.006
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    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Crime and punishment the British way: how the expenses scandal affected the 2010 general election
      by Joel Suss in British Politics and Policy at LSE on 2015-04-13 20:00:08

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Mass media; Accountability; Corruption; Voting; Partisan bias; Female politicians;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F3 - International Economics - - International Finance
    • G3 - Financial Economics - - Corporate Finance and Governance

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