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Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line?


  • Björn Kauder
  • Niklas Potrafke


  • Marina Riem


We examine whether parties punish politicians who vote against the party line in roll-call votes. Using data of German members of parliament over the legislative period 2009-2013, we take into account that the effect of punishment differs along the list of candidates because a candidate is punished more when he loses positions at the threshold of promising list positions. The dataset includes the voting behavior of 257 MPs in 218 roll-call votes. Our results do not show that parties account for the voting behavior by punishing politicians who have voted against the party line. Political parties may attract different groups of voters by tolerating politicians who vote according to their own credo. Qualities other than the voting behavior seem to matter to political parties when nominating candidates.

Suggested Citation

  • Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke & Marina Riem, 2017. "Do Parties Punish MPs for Voting Against the Party Line?," CESifo Working Paper Series 6503, CESifo Group Munich.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6503

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    Cited by:

    1. Toke Aidt & Felix Grey & Alexandru Savu, 2019. "The Three Meaningful Votes: Voting on Brexit in the British House of Commons," CESifo Working Paper Series 7819, CESifo Group Munich.
    2. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2018. "Warum stimmen Unionsabgeordnete für die Ehe für alle? Es ist die Konkurrenz im Wahlkreis!," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 71(24), pages 26-27, December.
    3. repec:bla:germec:v:20:y:2019:i:4:p:e600-e617 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2017. "Gibt es Schelte für Bundestagsabgeordnete, die nicht mit ihrer eigenen Partei stimmen?," ifo Schnelldienst, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 70(12), pages 26-29, June.
    5. Björn Kauder & Niklas Potrafke, 2019. "Conservative Politicians and Voting on Same‐sex Marriage," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 20(4), pages 600-617, November.
    6. Aidt, T. S & Grey, F. & Savu, A., 2019. "The Three Meaningful Votes: Voting on Brexit in the British House of Commons," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1979, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.

    More about this item


    voting against the party line; adherence to the party line; roll-call votes; proportional representation; party lists; selectorate;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • P16 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems - - - Political Economy of Capitalism

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