, Volume 146, Issue 3-4, pp 291-317
Date: 28 Jan 2010

Working or shirking? Expenses and attendance in the UK Parliament

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This paper studies the determinants of MPs’ expense claims and of their attendance at Parliamentary meetings. Using a multiple regression framework, we correlate the expenses with three sets of variables: constituency characteristics, political variables, and individual characteristics. We then look at the ratio of parliamentary expenses claimed to votes cast in Parliament as a crude measure of value for money. This take on the data provides a somewhat benign view of the usage of expense claims. We use the results to reflect on two views of the motivation of MPs—the public choice view and the public service view.

We thank Christofer Hood, George Jones, John Lott, Riccardo Puglisi, two anonymous referees, and the participants to numerous seminars and conferences for their useful comments and suggestions. Mitchell Young provided dedicated research assistance.