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Dissent in Parliament as Reputation Building

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  • Brandon Schaufele

    () (Department of Economics, University of Ottawa, Ottawa, ON)

Abstract

Dissenting votes in parliamentary systems are overt displays of defiance by individual Members of Parliament (MPs) vis-à-vis their parties. Dissension is particularly surprising as in the vast majority of situations voting against one's party yields no change in legislative outcomes while still generating costs for MPs. This study examines the decisions of elected representatives who face conflicting incentives. A model is developed where MPs choose to dissent in an effort to build reputations with their local constituents. Using all 32,216 observations at MP-bill-vote level for the 39th Parliament of Canada, a reputation building hypothesis is specified and tested. I provide evidence that MPs whose previous election was competitive are 13 percent more likely to cast any dissenting vote and, for a one standard deviation decrease in expected margin of victory, 2.3 percent more likely to defect on any given vote, results which suggest that MPs are actively attempting to build reputations with their local constituents

Suggested Citation

  • Brandon Schaufele, 2013. "Dissent in Parliament as Reputation Building," Working Papers 1301E, University of Ottawa, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1301e
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Canadian Parliament; dissent; elections; local politics; politician behavior; reputation;

    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
    • H19 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Other

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