Author Archive

Raphael Heuwieser

Raphael Heuwieser is a DPhil Candidate in Politics at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, and a Lecturer in Politics at Hertford College, University of Oxford.

As a doctoral student in Politics (DPhil), Raphael's current research examines the impact of electoral rules on legislative behaviour as well as determinants of MP-level party loyalty in European legislatures.

After completing his secondary education in South Africa, he studied Politics and French Literature in his native Germany and in Québec (BA) before coming to Oxford (Merton College) for the two-year MPhil in European Politics and the subsequent DPhil (Mansfield College). From January to June 2015, he was a Visiting Fellow at the Department of Government, Harvard University.

MPs’ expenses continue to fascinate the British media and public alike. Every autumn, the Independent Parliamentary Standards Authority[1] (IPSA) publishes a detailed breakdown of the House of Commons MPs’ expenses for the year, and news outlets rush to publish their analyses of this data. Tabloids (e.g. Daily Record) as well as broadsheets and magazines (The Guardian, The Economist) create rankings or tools that allow users to compare MPs’ expenses and single out big spenders. Such efforts are contextualised by the inveterate public ire over perceived excesses, exacerbated by the on-going austerity measures and a culture of ‘naming and shaming’. But most of these comparisons are highly problematic because they fail to provide important contextual information, simply comparing MPs’ total expenses (overall …