Spring 2022 Seminars: 2nd February
When Reelection Increases Legislative Cohesion: Evidence from Clientelistic Parties in Mexico
Speaker: Lucia Motolinia (Washington University in St. Louis)
Wednesday, February 2, 14:00–14:45 GMT
If Covid-19 guidelines allow, all events take place at UCD and are also live-streamed on Zoom. Please register here to receive the link and password to the online meeting and information on the room at UCD.
Abstract: When legislators have electoral incentives to cultivate personal votes, parties are less cohesive. This is because legislators have an alternative principal with whom they must build bonds of accountability: their voters. I offer a theory for why this will not always be the case. I posit that when parties control access to the resources candidates need to cultivate a personal vote, the introduction of personal vote-seeking incentives can increase party cohesion, not decrease it. It can do so, because party leaders can condition a legislator’s access to the resources they need to cultivate a personal vote on loyalty to the party’s agenda. To test this theory, I turn to the case of Mexico, where an electoral reform in 2014 introduced the possibility of reelection for state legislators. I estimate the ideological placement of Mexican state legislators by applying correspondence analysis to a new dataset of over half a million speeches in 20 states from 2012 to 2018. Leveraging the staggered implementation of the reform, I conduct a difference-in-difference analysis of its effects on intra-party cohesion. Results accord with the theory and have broad ramifications for work on personal vote-seeking, for Mexican politics, and for countries introducing personal vote-oriented electoral reforms.
About the speaker: Lucia Motolinia is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science at Washington University in St. Louis. Her research tries to better understand how electoral institutions affect the political behavior of individual politicians and parties. She combines observational data, natural experiments, and text-analysis to study the way electoral institutions affect important political outcomes such as political selection, party cohesion, and distributive politics.