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Electoral poachers? an assessment of shadowing behaviour in the Scottish parliament

Shephard, M.P. and Carman, C.J. (2007) Electoral poachers? an assessment of shadowing behaviour in the Scottish parliament. Journal of Legislative Studies, 13 (4). pp. 483-496. ISSN 1357-2334

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Abstract

The mixed member electoral system used for the Scottish Parliament has produced two kinds of parliamentarians - those elected to represent constituencies (constituency members) and those elected to represent regions (list members). This system has created the possibility that list members might shadow constituency members with the intention of contesting the constituency seat in the next election. One manifestation of this is where list members locate their offices. Existing research on the shadowing of constituency members by list members has focused on the opinions of samples of members. In this paper we measure the behaviour of all members to examine the question of whether, how, and why list members shadow constituency members through the location of their offices. Among a number of findings, we provide evidence that list members of the Scottish Parliament (MSPs) are significantly more likely to locate offices in most marginal constituencies, suggesting that electoral poaching is a feature of the system.