In trying to understand the effects of political parties on shaping the voting behaviour of legislators, research has attempted the difficult task of separating the effects of preferences from rules used by party leaders to enforce discipline. However, little research has explored the prospect that party labels also reflect a social identity that is independent of legislators’ preferences and the rules used by party leaders to enforce discipline. In this study we examine that possibility, employing a data set that permits us to control both for leadership-based effects and legislator preferences on a 2000 free vote dealing with stem cell research. Using the British Representation Studies 1997 – which interviewed Members of Parliament regarding their preferences on several key issues related to the bill – we find significant evidence that party-as-identification plays a role in shaping how legislators vote, even after preferences and discipline are accounted for.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science