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Dissent in Parliament as Reputation Building

  • Brandon Schaufele

    ()

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

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

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File URL: http://www.socialsciences.uottawa.ca/sites/default/files/public/eco/1301e.pdf
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Paper provided by University of Ottawa, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1301E.

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Length: 35 pages
Date of creation: 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ott:wpaper:1301e
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  8. Harris, Mark & Spencer, Christopher, 2008. "Decade of dissent: explaining the dissent voting behavior of Bank of England MPC members," MPRA Paper 9100, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  12. Markus Frölich, 2004. "Finite-Sample Properties of Propensity-Score Matching and Weighting Estimators," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 86(1), pages 77-90, February.
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