Party Cohesion in Westminster Systems

Inducements, Replacement and Discipline in the House of Commons, 1836-1910

Andrew C. Eggers, Arthur Spirling

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    This article considers the historical development of a characteristic crucial for the functioning and normative appeal of Westminster systems: cohesive legislative parties. It gathers the universe of the 20,000 parliamentary divisions that took place between 1836 and 1910 in the British House of Commons, construct a voting record for every Member of Parliament (MP) serving during this time, and conducts analysis that aims to both describe and explain the development of cohesive party voting. In line with previous work, it shows that - with the exception of a chaotic period in the 1840s and 1850s - median discipline was always high and increased throughout the century. The study uses novel methods to demonstrate that much of the rise in cohesion results from the elimination of a rebellious 'left tail' from the 1860s onwards, rather than central tendency shifts. In explaining the aggregate trends, the article uses panel data techniques and notes that there is scant evidence for 'replacement' explanations that involve new members behaving in more disciplined ways than those leaving the chamber. It offers evidence that more loyal MPs were more likely to obtain ministerial posts, and speculates that this and other 'inducement'-based accounts offer more promising explanations of increasingly cohesive parties.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)567-589
    Number of pages23
    JournalBritish Journal of Political Science
    Volume46
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 7 2014

    Fingerprint

    group cohesion
    voting
    historical development
    chamber
    parliament
    evidence
    appeal
    trend
    time

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Sociology and Political Science

    Cite this

    Party Cohesion in Westminster Systems : Inducements, Replacement and Discipline in the House of Commons, 1836-1910. / Eggers, Andrew C.; Spirling, Arthur.

    In: British Journal of Political Science, Vol. 46, No. 3, 07.07.2014, p. 567-589.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    @article{6ee1e59f982443ec908c345ce539f923,
    title = "Party Cohesion in Westminster Systems: Inducements, Replacement and Discipline in the House of Commons, 1836-1910",
    abstract = "This article considers the historical development of a characteristic crucial for the functioning and normative appeal of Westminster systems: cohesive legislative parties. It gathers the universe of the 20,000 parliamentary divisions that took place between 1836 and 1910 in the British House of Commons, construct a voting record for every Member of Parliament (MP) serving during this time, and conducts analysis that aims to both describe and explain the development of cohesive party voting. In line with previous work, it shows that - with the exception of a chaotic period in the 1840s and 1850s - median discipline was always high and increased throughout the century. The study uses novel methods to demonstrate that much of the rise in cohesion results from the elimination of a rebellious 'left tail' from the 1860s onwards, rather than central tendency shifts. In explaining the aggregate trends, the article uses panel data techniques and notes that there is scant evidence for 'replacement' explanations that involve new members behaving in more disciplined ways than those leaving the chamber. It offers evidence that more loyal MPs were more likely to obtain ministerial posts, and speculates that this and other 'inducement'-based accounts offer more promising explanations of increasingly cohesive parties.",
    author = "Eggers, {Andrew C.} and Arthur Spirling",
    year = "2014",
    month = "7",
    day = "7",
    doi = "10.1017/S0007123414000362",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "46",
    pages = "567--589",
    journal = "British Journal of Political Science",
    issn = "0007-1234",
    publisher = "Cambridge University Press",
    number = "3",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - Party Cohesion in Westminster Systems

    T2 - Inducements, Replacement and Discipline in the House of Commons, 1836-1910

    AU - Eggers, Andrew C.

    AU - Spirling, Arthur

    PY - 2014/7/7

    Y1 - 2014/7/7

    N2 - This article considers the historical development of a characteristic crucial for the functioning and normative appeal of Westminster systems: cohesive legislative parties. It gathers the universe of the 20,000 parliamentary divisions that took place between 1836 and 1910 in the British House of Commons, construct a voting record for every Member of Parliament (MP) serving during this time, and conducts analysis that aims to both describe and explain the development of cohesive party voting. In line with previous work, it shows that - with the exception of a chaotic period in the 1840s and 1850s - median discipline was always high and increased throughout the century. The study uses novel methods to demonstrate that much of the rise in cohesion results from the elimination of a rebellious 'left tail' from the 1860s onwards, rather than central tendency shifts. In explaining the aggregate trends, the article uses panel data techniques and notes that there is scant evidence for 'replacement' explanations that involve new members behaving in more disciplined ways than those leaving the chamber. It offers evidence that more loyal MPs were more likely to obtain ministerial posts, and speculates that this and other 'inducement'-based accounts offer more promising explanations of increasingly cohesive parties.

    AB - This article considers the historical development of a characteristic crucial for the functioning and normative appeal of Westminster systems: cohesive legislative parties. It gathers the universe of the 20,000 parliamentary divisions that took place between 1836 and 1910 in the British House of Commons, construct a voting record for every Member of Parliament (MP) serving during this time, and conducts analysis that aims to both describe and explain the development of cohesive party voting. In line with previous work, it shows that - with the exception of a chaotic period in the 1840s and 1850s - median discipline was always high and increased throughout the century. The study uses novel methods to demonstrate that much of the rise in cohesion results from the elimination of a rebellious 'left tail' from the 1860s onwards, rather than central tendency shifts. In explaining the aggregate trends, the article uses panel data techniques and notes that there is scant evidence for 'replacement' explanations that involve new members behaving in more disciplined ways than those leaving the chamber. It offers evidence that more loyal MPs were more likely to obtain ministerial posts, and speculates that this and other 'inducement'-based accounts offer more promising explanations of increasingly cohesive parties.

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=84916898866&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=84916898866&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1017/S0007123414000362

    DO - 10.1017/S0007123414000362

    M3 - Article

    VL - 46

    SP - 567

    EP - 589

    JO - British Journal of Political Science

    JF - British Journal of Political Science

    SN - 0007-1234

    IS - 3

    ER -