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Legislator dissent as a valence signal.

Campbell, Rosie and Cowley, Phil and Vivyan, Nick and Markus, Wagner (2019) 'Legislator dissent as a valence signal.', British journal of political science., 49 (1). pp. 105-128.


Existing research suggests that voters tend to respond positively to legislator independence due to two types of mechanism. First, dissent has an indirect effect, increasing a legislator’s media coverage and personal recognition among constituents (profile effects). Secondly, constituents react positively to dissent when this signals that the legislator has matching political or representational preferences (conditional evaluation). This article presents a third effect: dissent acts as a valence signal of integrity and trustworthiness. Consistent with the valence signalling mechanism, it uses new observational and experimental evidence to show that British voters have a strong and largely unconditional preference for legislators who dissent. The findings pose a dilemma for political systems that rely on strong and cohesive parties.

Item Type:Article
Full text:(AM) Accepted Manuscript
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Publisher statement:This article has been published in a revised form in British Journal of Political Science This version is free to view and download for private research and study only. Not for re-distribution, re-sale or use in derivative works. © Copyright Cambridge University Press 2016.
Date accepted:01 February 2016
Date deposited:18 April 2016
Date of first online publication:24 June 2016
Date first made open access:18 April 2016

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