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Advice-Giving and Party Loyalty: The Role of Information Acquisition in the Socialisation Experiences of New British MPs

Parliaments
Political Parties
Political Sociology
Survey Research
Nicholas Dickinson
University of Exeter
Nicholas Dickinson
University of Exeter
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Abstract

Socialisation has frequently been identified as a potential source of legislators’ disposition towards party loyalty. Yet a recent study of the socialisation experiences of new members in the British Parliament, using tenure as proxy for socialisation, found little evidence of an effect on party loyalty (Rush and Giddings, 2011). This paper develops a new model of legislative socialisation and uses the same data to demonstrate that post-entry socialisation did in fact change legislators reported likeliness to behave in accordance with their leadership’s wishes. In contrast to previous studies, which have seen socialisation as dominated by institutional identity, a framework based on information exchange is used to show that positive advice-giving interactions with party actors are associated with increased loyalty. Even when controlling for initial levels of loyalty and other factors, members who received more useful advice from party actors were more likely to rate themselves as highly loyal to their party.