Political Party Switching: It's More Fun in the Philippines

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Excessive party switching potentially weakens accountability and ideological coherence based on which party-based democracies operate. This study empirically analyzes party switching in the Philippine House of Representations, touching on issues at the macro-level (e.g. the legislative model) to the micro-level (e.g. regional socio-economic characteristics), from the institutional (e.g. the entrenched political dynasties) to the agency-oriented (e.g. voters’ perception). The initial analysis in this paper points to some of the possible factors affecting a legislator’s decision to change official party affiliation, including voters' perceptions (which often condone party switching) and timing (which suggests higher party switching during mid-term election years to maximize access to State resources). To the best of these authors' knowledge, this is among the first empirical studies of party switching patterns of members of the Philippine House of Representatives.