The Demand and Supply of Parliamentary Policy Advocacy: Evidence from UK Health Policy, 1997-2005
Government and Opposition, Forthcoming
29 Pages Posted: 2 Dec 2008
Date Written: November, 28 2008
Fundamental to democratic politics is the quality of representation of constituents' interests by elected officials. We statistically examine a case of substantive policy advocacy in Great Britain, specifically the issues of wait times and health rationing by the National Health Service (NHS) salient throughout the Blair years. An increase in constituent need for care implies an increase in demand for parliamentary representation, yet it does not necessarily mean that representation will be supplied because legislators juggle conflicting interests. We measure representative action using parliamentary questions from 1997-2005. Party and parliamentary status and a set of indicators of healthiness of British citizens provide measures of political supply and constituent demand. Employing count regression techniques, we find increased parliamentary questions as the proportion of individuals with some high health risks rise, but opposite results for other health risks. Evidence of political supply is much more consistent, suggesting that political careerism goes a long way toward explaining whether MPs table any questions at all in this policy area.
Keywords: health policy and politics, constituency service, personal vote, legislative politics
JEL Classification: H51, P16
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation