Public Choice

, Volume 171, Issue 1–2, pp 187–206 | Cite as

Defecting alone or splitting together? Individual and collective party switching by legislators

  • Özge Kemahlıoğlu
  • Sabri Sayarı


While the nature of party switching is expected to have significant consequences for democratic representation, the current literature has not explored sufficiently the different dynamics that facilitate legislators to depart from their parties individually or collectively. We argue that target parties’ concerns about the policy consequences of absorbing an ideologically different group of legislators constrain the opportunities of factions even though they share the same electoral concerns as individual legislators. Turkey’s highly unstable legislative party system from 1991 to 2002 allows us to conduct a two-stage conditional logit analysis of party affiliation. In line with our theory, we find that individual switchers are affected by immediate electoral concerns while policy related factors matter most in cases of factional and/or collective switches.


Party switching Faction MP Turkey Representation 



An earlier version of this paper was previously presented at the Midwest Political Association Meeting in Chicago, March 2011. We are grateful to Melis Nazlı for her able help with data collection and the conference participants for their feedback. We also thank Abdurahman Aydemir and Kerim Can Kavakli who provided valuable suggestions on the statistical analysis, the participants of our expert survey on party positions, and the two anonymous referees.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOC 589 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Sabancı UniversityTuzlaTurkey

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