Multiple Principals and Legislative Cohesion

Stephen Meserve, Joseph Robbins, Frank Thames

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


In many systems, legislators find themselves accountable to multiple principals. This article seeks to further answer how legislators decide between their principals and what factors condition legislators to choose one over the other. We argue that electoral uncertainty, operationalized as electoral volatility, pushes legislators towards the principal that has the greatest influence over their re-election. Using European Parliament electoral results and roll-call data from the second to the sixth European Parliaments (1984–2009), we show that increases in electoral volatility decreased European group cohesion and pushed legislators to side more with the positions of their national parties over their European group when the two disagreed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)515-548
Number of pages34
JournalLegislative Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2017
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of 'Multiple Principals and Legislative Cohesion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this