Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 9 > Issue 4

Partisanship and Electoral Accountability: Evidence from the UK Expenses Scandal

Andrew C. Eggers, Nuffield College and University of Oxford, UK, andrew.eggers@nuffield.ox.ac.uk
Suggested Citation
Andrew C. Eggers (2014), "Partisanship and Electoral Accountability: Evidence from the UK Expenses Scandal", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 9: No. 4, pp 441-472. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00013140

Publication Date: 22 Dec 2014
© 2014 A. Eggers
Elections,  Voting behavior,  Political corruption,  Political parties


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In this article:
1. Framework 
2. Research Design 
3. Partisanship and Electoral Punishment: Aggregate-level Analysis 
4. Partisanship and Electoral Punishment: Individual-level Analysis 
5. Partisanship and Implication in the Expenses Scandal 
6. Conclusion 


Why do voters support corrupt politicians? One reason is that voters care about both corruption and partisan control of government; the more voters care about which party wins, the less they can deter individual wrongdoing. I highlight this tradeoff in the 2009 UK expenses scandal, showing that electoral accountability was less effective in constituencies where the partisan stakes of the local contest were higher: not only did corrupt MPs in these constituencies suffer smaller punishments, but these MPs were also more likely to be implicated in the scandal in the first place. The findings point to an under-appreciated consequence of partisanship (and underlying causes such as strong party systems and polarization at the elite or mass level) for the electoral control of politicians.