Research has explored the impact of politicians holding second jobs, or moonlighting, on their performance and recruitment, but less is known about how citizens respond to such behavior. Citizens may react negatively to Members of Parliament (MPs) moonlighting, viewing outside earnings as a conflict of interest or a distraction, or instead they might view MPs with second incomes positively, seeing them as a connection with the “real world” beyond politics. Utilizing a series of survey experiments, we assess how British citizens respond to MPs moonlighting. We demonstrate preferences more complex than those revealed by traditional survey instruments. Citizens respond to both size and source of income. They do not respond negatively to all second incomes; they are more sympathetic to the entrepreneur who continues to draw an income than medical doctors or lawyers who continue to practice. They are most hostile to politicians who take on part-time company directorships.
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