An earlier version of this article was delivered at the 2002 Meetings of the American Political Science Association. The project on which this article is based received generous funding from the National Science Foundation (SBR-9617532) and the University of Missouri Research Board (RB98-055). Our thanks to the 254 MPs who graciously granted us interviews and to the anonymous reviewers who provided numerous helpful comments. Thanks also to the research assistants who have helped with the project: Richard Almeida, Brandon Bartels, Jason Cruse, Matthew Eshbaugh-Soha, Mike Guadagno, Jennifer Karberg, Todd Kennedy, Mikael Pelz, Todd Reed, Moxila Uphadyaya, Amanda Weddle, and Daniel Jones-White.
Electoral Context and MP Constituency Focus in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom
Article first published online: 3 DEC 2004
American Journal of Political Science
Volume 49, Issue 1, pages 32–45, January 2005
How to Cite
Heitshusen, V., Young, G. and Wood, D. M. (2005), Electoral Context and MP Constituency Focus in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. American Journal of Political Science, 49: 32–45. doi: 10.1111/j.0092-5853.2005.00108.x
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2004
- Article first published online: 3 DEC 2004
The job description for legislators in western democracies includes constituency-focused activities such as casework and district visits. Unfortunately we have a limited theoretical and empirical understanding of the factors affecting legislators' constituency-oriented activities, in large part because most studies focus on single nations; even studies that are comparative do not span a variety of electoral systems. In this article we examine the constituency focus of MPs in six chambers that do provide such variance: the Australian House and Senate, Canadian House, Irish Dáil, New Zealand House, and the British House of Commons. We find that electoral considerations and incentives provided by different electoral systems, as well as other factors, affect the priority that MPs place on constituency service.