Legislator dissent does not affect electoral outcomes

Philip Cowley, Resul Umit
(2023) British Journal of Political Science, 53(2), 789–795

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Are there electoral consequences or benefits for legislators who deviate from the party line? We answer this question with data from individual-level vote choice and constituency-level electoral results in the UK for the last two decades. Exploring the variations in voting patterns over time with a panel-regression approach, we find results that are most compatible with the null hypothesis, that is, that dissent by legislators is neither rewarded nor punished in elections. These results call into question the degree to which voters know and/or care about legislative dissent in parliament.