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Representative misconduct, voter perceptions and accountability : evidence from the 2009 House of Commons expenses scandal.

Vivyan, Nick and Wagner, Markus and Tarlov, Jessica (2012) 'Representative misconduct, voter perceptions and accountability : evidence from the 2009 House of Commons expenses scandal.', Electoral studies., 31 (4). pp. 750-763.

Abstract

This paper examines electoral accountability after the 2009–10 UK expenses scandal. Existing research shows that Members of Parliament (MPs) implicated in the scandal fared only marginally worse in the election than non-implicated colleagues. This lack of electoral accountability for misconduct could have arisen either because voters did not know about their representative's wrongdoing or because they chose not to electorally sanction them. We combine panel survey data with new measures of MP implication in the expenses scandal to test where electoral accountability failed. We find that MP implication influenced voter perceptions of wrongdoing more than expected. In contrast, constituents were only marginally less likely to vote for MPs who were implicated in the scandal. Electoral accountability may therefore be constrained even when information about representative misconduct is easily available and clearly influences voter perceptions.

Item Type:Article
Keywords:Accountability, Expenses scandal, Information, Members of Parliament, Voting behaviour.
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Available under License - Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.
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Status:Peer-reviewed
Publisher Web site:http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1016/j.electstud.2012.06.010
Publisher statement:Open access under CC BY-NC-ND license. This article is published under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-No Derivatives License (CC BY NC ND). For non-commercial purposes you may distribute and copy the article and include it in a collective work (such as an anthology), provided you do not alter or modify the article, without permission from Elsevier. The original work must always be appropriately credited.
Date accepted:28 June 2012
Date deposited:27 July 2015
Date of first online publication:December 2012
Date first made open access:No date available

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