Skip to main content Accessibility help

Legislative Activity and Private Benefits: A Natural Experiment in New Zealand

  • Massimo Morelli (a1), Moritz Osnabrügge (a2) and Matia Vannoni (a3)

We examine the causal effect of legislative activity on private benefits, which have been largely neglected by previous research in legislative studies. By relying on a natural experiment in New Zealand, where randomly selected Members of Parliament (MPs) are given the opportunity to propose legislation, we find evidence for a causal relation between proposing a (successful) bill and the private benefits MPs receive, in terms of gifts and payments for services. We conclude that the allocation of private benefits depends on legislative performance.

Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email:
Hide All
Bowler, S (2010) Private members’ bills in the UK parliament: is there an electoral connection? The Journal of Legislative Studies 16, 476494.
Bräuninger, T and Debus, M (2009) Legislative agenda-setting in parliamentary democracies. European Journal of Political Research 48, 804839.
Bräuninger, T, Debus, M and Wüst, F (2017) Governments, parliaments and legislative activity. Political Science Research and Methods 5, 529554.
Buisseret, P and Bernhardt, D (2017) Dynamics of policymaking: stepping back to leap forward, stepping forward to keep back. American Journal of Political Science 61, 820835.
Caselli, F and Morelli, M (2004) Bad politicians. Journal of Public Economics 88, 759782.
Cox, GW and McCubbins, MD (2005) Setting the Agenda: Responsible Party Government in the U.S. House of Representatives. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Gratton, G, Guiso, L, Michelacci, C and Morelli, M (2015) From Weber to Kafka: political activism and the emergence of an inefficient bureaucracy. SSRN.
Horiuchi, Y and John, P (2016) Opportunities in parliament and political careers: a natural experiment in the United Kingdom. SSRN.
House of Commons (2010) Private members’ bills procedure. Technical report.
House of Commons (2016) Private members’ bills: ballot 2016. Technical report.
Krehbiel, K (1998) Pivotal Politics: A Theory of U.S. Lawmaking. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Loewen, PJ, Koop, R, Settle, J and Fowler, JH (2014) A natural experiment in proposal power and electoral success. American Journal of Political Science 58, 189196.
Martin, LW (2004) The government agenda in parliamentary democracies. American Journal of Political Science 48, 445461.
Mattozzi, A and Merlo, A (2008) Political careers or career politicians? Journal of Public Economics 92, 597608.
New Zealand Parliament (2009) Members’ bill ballot. Technical report.
New Zealand Parliament (2016) Parliament brief: the legislative process. Technical report.
New Zealand Parliament (2017) Parliamentary library research paper. Members' bills. Technical report.
Tsebelis, G (2002) Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Williams, BD and Indridason, IH (2018) Luck of the draw? Private members’ bills and the electoral connection. Political Science Research and Methods 6, 117.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary materials

Morelli et al. Dataset

Supplementary materials

Morelli et al. supplementary material
Online Appendices

 PDF (159 KB)
159 KB


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed