Career Ambitions and Legislative Participation: The Moderating Effect of Electoral Institutions

Posted: 17 Jun 2013

See all articles by Bjorn Hoyland

Bjorn Hoyland

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science

Sara Hobolt

London School of Economics; London School of Economics

Simon Hix

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: June 7, 2013

Abstract

In multi-level political systems politicians are faced with several possible career paths, as they can advance their careers at either the lower (state) or higher (federal) level. Career ambitions lead representatives to carefully adapt their behavior to maximize their chances of being re-elected and promoted to higher office at their preferred level of government. We argue that the design of the electoral institutions influences how politicians respond to these incentives. Analyzing a unique dataset of both ‘stated’ and ‘revealed’ career ambitions of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) we find that politicians seeking high political office in their home state reduce their legislative participation in the European Parliament, whereas politicians who seek to further their careers at the European level increase their legislative engagement. In addition, we find that this latter effect is strongest for politicians elected in party-centered electoral systems. This finding has implications for the literature on electoral institutions and legislative behavior.

Suggested Citation

Hoyland, Bjorn and Hobolt, Sara and Hix, Simon, Career Ambitions and Legislative Participation: The Moderating Effect of Electoral Institutions (June 7, 2013). EPSA 2013 Annual General Conference Paper 677. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2225043

Bjorn Hoyland (Contact Author)

University of Oslo - Department of Political Science ( email )

PO Box 6706 St Olavs plass
Oslo, N-0317
Norway

Sara Hobolt

London School of Economics ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

London School of Economics ( email )

United Kingdom

Simon Hix

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Northampton NN7 1NE
United Kingdom

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