MPs and their constituents in contemporary democracies

MPs and their constituents in contemporary democracies

Friday 7th February 2014

Read Professor Philip Cowley’s write-up of the conference, here.

This workshop showcased contemporary research exploring what voters want from their MPs and how they evaluate election candidates. The invited audience was made up of academics and practitioners. Drawing on cutting edge research from the UK and overseas, speakers explained the way voters see those who choose to represent them.

Sponsored by: The Centre for the Study of British Politics and Public Life (Birkbeck), The British Academy, The Centre for British Politics (University of Nottingham), The Centre for Institutions and Political Behaviour (Durham) and the Political Quarterly.


Session one 11:00-12:30: What voters want

  1. Nick Vivyan & Markus Wagner: House or Home? Constituent preferences over representative activities.
  2. Rosie Campbell & Philip Cowley: Designing the perfect politician: exploring desirable candidate characteristics using hypothetical biographies and survey experiments.
  3. Vincent Tiberj: Yes they can: An experimental approach to the eligibility of ethnic minority candidates in France.

Session two 13:30- 15:00: Candidate preference

  1. Michael Marsh: Parish pump and the preferential vote in Ireland.
  2. Jocelyn Evans and Kai Arzheimer: Living in the wrong part of town: voter-candidate distance effects in the 2013 English local elections.
  3. Caitlin Milazzo: Attractiveness and candidate popularity.

Session three 15:30-17:00: MPs and values

  1. Andy Eggers LSE conjoint project with Marcus and Nick: partisanship and punishment for MP misconduct.
  2. Wolfgang Müller & Marcelo Jenny: Who MPs think their principals are.
  3. Rosie Campbell & Joni Lovenduski: What characterises a good MP?  Public and Parliamentarians views compared.

Session four 17:00-18:00: What next?