Electoral Accountability and the UK Parliamentary Expenses Scandal: Did Voters Punish Corrupt MPs?
43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2011
Date Written: September 21, 2011
We assess the electoral impact of the 2009 UK parliamentary expenses scandal, focusing on whether MPs who were implicated in the scandal retired at a higher rate or received lower electoral support in the 2010 general election than those who were not. We nd that implication in the scandal led to both a higher retirement rate and a lower vote share for implicated MPs, but that retirement decisions and voting decisions seem to have depended on different factors: MPs who were more profligate expensers retired at a higher rate, while those whose abuses were viewed as more scandalous were punished by voters. Our overall results show that the expenses scandal had a modest impact on constituency-level outcomes compared to expectations and to similar cases in other countries; this is consistent with existing work on British voters as well as the broader insight that voters' ability to punish corrupt behavior depends on institutional factors like the electoral system and separation of powers.
Keywords: electoral accountability, corruption, scandals, parliament, British politics
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation