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WP5 Informal Institutions in Institutional Creation, Continuity and Change

The research in this Work Package had two elements.

First, the Work Package itself investigated informal institutions in the legislative arena. It examined the operation of two key informal institutions – disruption and expenses – in the South African and UK parliaments. Both institutions are impregnated with unwritten norms and conventions that are the subject of contestation. Both parliaments have also been subject to recent expenses scandals. The project assessed how far these expenses regimes can be understood as informal institutions and whether MPs participated in gendered ways, for example whether male and female MPs had different expenses claims. The research has examined the outcomes of the expenses scandal in the UK and the attempts to reform/change and formalise any informal institutions. Disruption also occurs in both parliaments but takes very different forms according to the norms of each parliament.  The project investigated how these different norms of disruption are gendered and how far they have changed since the transition in South Africa and the influx of new women MPs in the UK in 1997. 

Second, the research undertaken in all the other Work Packages has also played a central role by feeding into and informing the UIC work on informal institutions, as the informal became a central theme in all the UIC research.  Research conducted in WP5 was both qualitative, using participant observation within the chambers, documents and in-depth interviews as well as quantitative, analysing expenses claims.

Duration 24 months.

Key people

  • Prof Georgina Waylen
  • Prof Francesca Gains

Research Associate:

  • Faith Armitage

Key publications