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Frech, Elena; Goet, Niels D.; Hug, Simon (2020): Shirking and Slacking in Parliament. In: Legislative Studies Quarterly
Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.

Abstract

How and why do the activities of members of parliament (MPs) change in response to electoral constraints? In this article, we draw on unique and newly collected data from the Swiss federal chambers and two cantonal parliaments (Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land) to explore the effects of electoral constraints. Leveraging variation in mandatory term limits, we study the extent to which term-limited MPs engage in shirking-that is, move away from their principal, whether it be the party and/or voters-and slacking-that is, reduce their parliamentary activities. Our analysis, which draws on a combination of novel roll-call votes and speech data, yields mixed results: while there is no evidence of shirking by term-limited MPs in the cantonal parliaments, we find some indications of such behavior among term-limited legislators in the federal chambers. These latter legislators also engage in some limited slacking, which is not observable in the cantonal parliaments. Our findings shed light on the (political) implications of term limits and the effect of electoral constraints on legislator behavior.