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Moving in Time: Legislative Party Switching as Time-Contingent Choice

  • Carol MershonEmail author
  • Olga Shvetsova
Chapter

Abstract

Why would a sitting legislator leave the party on whose label she has won election and join another parliamentary party? The premise of this paper is that a politician's calculus on party affiliation involves not only what she stands to gain or lose, but also when the potential gains or losses likely occur. The theoretical model here demonstrates that an MP times a shift in party allegiance so as to minimize losses and maximize gains. The empirical illustrations bearing on our predictions afford variation on the key parameter of electoral laws and drive home the importance of timing in mp partisan strategy. Our theoretical and empirical findings on when incumbents switch party during a legislative term shed new light on why they switch.

Keywords

Policy Position Proportional Representation Utility Loss Party Affiliation Social Democratic Party 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

The authors thank Mikhail Filippov, Will Heller, Tim Nokken, and Norman Schofield for helpful comments. We also thank the participants of the Conference on the Political Economy of Democratic Institutions, Hoover Institution, Stanford University, May 2009, for valuable discussion. We are grateful to Julie VanDusky-Allen for research assistance.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Political Science ProgramNational Science FoundationArlingtonUSA
  2. 2.Department of PoliticsUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceBinghamton UniversityBinghamtonUSA

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