Skip to main content
×
Home
    • Aa
    • Aa

Legislator Dissent as a Valence Signal

Abstract

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.

  • View HTML
    • Send article to Kindle

      To send this article to your Kindle, first ensure no-reply@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about sending to your Kindle.

      Note you can select to send to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be sent to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

      Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

      Legislator Dissent as a Valence Signal
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Dropbox

      To send this article to your Dropbox account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Dropbox account. Find out more about sending content to Dropbox.

      Legislator Dissent as a Valence Signal
      Available formats
      ×
      Send article to Google Drive

      To send this article to your Google Drive account, please select one or more formats and confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your Google Drive account. Find out more about sending content to Google Drive.

      Legislator Dissent as a Valence Signal
      Available formats
      ×
Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

Department of Politics, Birkbeck, University of London (email: r.campbell@bbk.ac.uk); School of Politics and International Relations, Queen Mary University of London (email: p.cowley@qmul.ac.uk); School of Government and International Affairs, Durham University (email: nick.vivyan@durham.ac.uk); Department of Government, University of Vienna (email: markus.wagner@univie.ac.at). Part of this research was funded by a British Academy Small Research Grant awarded to Nick Vivyan (grant number SG112504). We would also like to thank the University of Nottingham for its generous support. We provide supplementary material in the online appendix. Data replication sets are available at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000223.

Footnotes
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

James Adams , and Samuel Merrill III. 2013. Policy-Seeking Candidates Who Value the Valence Attributes of the Winner. Public Choice 155:139161.

Stephen Ansolabehere , and Philip E. Jones . 2010. Constituents’ Responses to Congressional Roll-Call Voting. American Journal of Political Science 54 (3):583597.

Giacomo Benedetto , and Simon Hix . 2007. The Rejected, the Ejected, and the Dejected: Explaining Government Rebels in the 2001–2005 British House of Commons. Comparative Political Studies 40 (7):755781.

Asa Bengtsson , and Hanna Wass . 2011. The Representative Roles of MPs: A Citizen Perspective. Scandinavian Political Studies 34 (2):143167.

Bruce E. Cain , John A. Ferejohn , and Morris P. Fiorina . 1987. The Personal Vote: Constituency Service and Electoral Independence. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

Rosie Campbell , and Joni Lovenduski . 2015. What Should MPs Do? Public and Parliamentarians’ Views Compared. Parliamentary Affairs 68 (4):690708.

John M. Carey , and Matthew S. Shugart . 1995. Incentives to Cultivate a Personal Vote: A Rank Ordering of Electoral Formulas. Electoral Studies 14 (4):417439.

Christopher J Carman . 2006. Public Preferences for Parliamentary Representation in the UK: An Overlooked Link? Political Studies 54 (1):103122.

Jamie L. Carson , Gregory Kober , Matthew L. Lebo , and Everett Young . 2010. The Electoral Costs of Party Loyalty in Congress. American Journal of Political Science 54 (3):598616.

Philip E. Converse , and Roy Pierce . 1986. Political Representation in France. Harvard: Belknap Press.

Gary W Cox . 1987. The Efficient Secret: The Cabinet and the Development of Political Parties in Victorian England. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Brian Crisp , Santiago Olivella , Michael Malecki , and Mindy Sher . 2013. Vote-Earning Strategies in Flexible List Systems: Seats at the Price of Unity. Electoral Studies 32 (4):658669.

Edward Crowe . 1983. Consensus and Structure in Legislative Norms: Party Discipline in the House of Commons. Journal of Politics 45 (4):907931.

Russell Dalton . 2004. Democratic Challenges, Democratic Choices: The Erosion in Political Support in Advanced Industrial Democracies. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Russell Dalton , David M. Farrell , and Ian McAllister . 2011. Political Parties and Democratic Linkage: How Parties Organize Democracy. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Roger H Davidson . 1970. Public Prescriptions for the Job of Congressman. Midwest Journal of Political Science 14 (4):648666.

Daniel G. Goldstein , and Gerd Gigerenzer . 2002. Models of Ecological Rationality: The Recognition Heuristic. Psychological Review 109 (1):7990.

Paul E. Green , Abba M. Krieger , and Yoram (Jerry) Wind . 2001. Thirty Years of Conjoint Analysis: Reflections and Prospects. Interfaces 31 (3, Supplement):S56S73.

Zachary Greene , and Matthias Haber . 2015. The Consequences of Appearing Divided: An Analysis of Party Evaluations and Vote Choice. Electoral Studies 37 (1):1527.

Christian R. Grose , Neil Malhotra , and Robert P. van Houweling . 2015. Explaining Explanations: How Legislators Explain their Policy Positions and How Citizens React. American Journal of Political Science 59 (3):724743 –43.

Laurel Harbridge , and Neil Malhotra . 2011. Electoral Incentives and Partisan Conflict in Congress: Evidence from Survey Experiments. American Journal of Political Science 55 (3):494510.

Catherine Johnson , and Gemma Rosenblatt . 2007. Do MPs Have the ‘Right Stuff?’. Parliamentary Affairs 60 (1):164169.

Christopher J Kam . 2009. Party Discipline and Parliamentary Politics. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Michael Kellerman . 2012. Estimating Ideal Points in the British House of Commons Using Early Day Motions. American Journal of Political Science 56 (3):757771.

Carl McCurley , and Jeffery J. Mondak . 1995. Inspected by #1184063113: The Influence of Incumbents’ Competence and Integrity in U.S. House Elections. American Journal of Political Science 39 (4):864885.

Monica Mendez-Lago , and Antonia Martinez . 2002. Political Representation in Spain: An Empirical Analysis of the Perception of Citizens and MPs. The Journal of Legislative Studies 8 (1):6390.

Jeffrey J Mondak . 1995. Competence, Integrity, and the Electoral Success of Congressional Incumbents. Journal of Politics 57 (4):10431069.

Jeffrey J. Mondak , and Robert Huckfeldt . 2006. The Accessibility and Utility of Candidate Character in Electoral Decision Making. Electoral Studies 25 (1):2034.

Charles Pattie , Ed Fieldhouse , and Ron Johnston . 1994. The Price of Conscience: The Electoral Correlates and Consequences of Free Votes and Rebellions in the British House of Commons, 1987–92. The British Journal of Political Science 24 (3):359380.

John W Patty . 2015. 2015. Signaling Through Obstruction. American Journal of Political Science 60 (1):175189–89.

Kira Sanbonmatsu . 2002. Gender Stereotypes and Vote Choice. American Journal of Political Science 46 (1):2034.

Walter J. Stone , and Elizabeth N. Simas . 2010. Candidate Valence and Ideological Positions in U.S. House Elections. American Journal of Political Science 54 (2):371388.

Nick Vivyan , and Markus Wagner . 2012. Do Voters Reward Rebellion? The Electoral Accountability of MPs in Britain. European Journal of Political Research 51 (2):235264.

Nick Vivyan , Markus Wagner , and Jessica Tarlov . 2012. Representative Misconduct, Voter Perceptions and Accountability: Evidence from the 2009 House of Commons Expenses Scandal. Electoral Studies 31 (4):750763.

Paul Webb . 1996. A Partisanship and Anti-Party Sentiment in the United Kingdom: Correlates and Constraints. European Journal of Political Research 29 (3):365382.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary Materials

Campbell supplementary material
Appendix

 Word (1.6 MB)
1.6 MB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 13
Total number of PDF views: 120 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 391 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th August 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.