Delegate conceptions of representation require activities of legislators to reflect their constituents’ preferences. Recent research has examined the distortionary effects of lobbying activities on this representational linkage. Here, I argue that the effect of interest groups on legislators’ behavior depends on the clarity of the majority’s preferences in a district. When the electorate is narrowly divided, Members of Parliament (MPs) may choose to reap the benefits associated with interest groups as costs from defection are lowest. The results show that MP defection from constituents’ preferences is only positively associated with sectional interest group ties when the constituency is narrowly divided on an issue. Likewise, MP defection is only negatively associated with an MP’s ties to cause groups when the constituency is narrowly divided on an issue. These results are important because they specify the conditions under which interest group lobbying is sufficient to override constituents’ preferences.
- interest groups
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science