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The Acceptance of Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies$
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David M. Willumsen

Print publication date: 2017

Print ISBN-13: 9780198805434

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: August 2017

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780198805434.001.0001

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Attitudes to Party Unity in the Nordic Countries

Attitudes to Party Unity in the Nordic Countries

Chapter:
(p.51) 3 Attitudes to Party Unity in the Nordic Countries
Source:
The Acceptance of Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies
Author(s):

David M. Willumsen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780198805434.003.0003

The book starts its empirical section in the most-likely case of party influence: Four Nordic countries (Denmark, Iceland, Norway, and Sweden). Analysing parliamentary survey data, it is argued that a very large proportion of voting unity can be explained by there simply being a lack of policy incentives to defect from the party line for a very large proportion of the members of the Nordic parliaments. However, it is also shown that preferences alone cannot explain the near-perfect voting unity found in these countries. Modelling legislators’ attitudes to party unity, the chapter shows that the most credible explanation of their decision to vote the party line against their preferred policy position is that MPs are aware of the long-term benefits of belonging to a united political party, and are willing to incur the short-term cost of voting against their preferred policy in order to obtain these benefits.

Keywords:   the Nordic countries, institutionalized party systems, ideological self-selection, most-likely case, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland

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