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HOME is a three-year project funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology that investigates the connections between the members of parliament (MPs) and their constituencies. It charts MPs’ behaviour in the district and in the parliament, over four central research questions:

  1. How do MPs behave in their home constituency?
  2. How do MPs use the parliamentary floor to cater to districts’ interests?
  3. How are recruitment and post-assignment in parliament used to connect with constituencies?
  4. Which factors explain differences in constituency-focus?

These questions are investigated in the context of a Small-N comparative study including Ghana, Namibia and South Africa. These are three of the most established democracies in Africa, with remarkable records of free and fair elections and highly institutionalized party systems. However, they display important institutional and contextual differences that make the empirical analysis of constituency service relevant. First, differentials in the electoral institutions, systems of govern and parliamentary structures allow us to leverage institutional explanations for cross-country variation in constituency service. Second, a closer look at each case study helps clarify the influence of districts’ characteristics, party organizations and individual-level factors on constituency service.

To answer the questions raised, the project applies an ambitious mixed methods research strategy that combines different types of quantitative (surveys, MPs’ biographies, parliamentary activity) and qualitative (documental research, interviews) types of data.



Edalina Rodrigues Sanches

Research Fellow at ICS-UL
Principal Investigator

Marina Costa Lobo

Senior Researcher at ICS-UL
Co-Principal Investigator

Research team

Yani Kartalis

HOME Research Fellow

João Conduto

PhD Candidate at ICS-UL
HOME Research Assistant

Ana Lúcia Sá

Assistant Professor

Ana Espírito-Santo

Assistant Professor

Pedro Figueiredo Neto

Research Fellow at ICS-UL

Elisabetta di Giorgi

Associate Professor

Cláudia Generoso de Almeida

Research Fellow at ICS-UL

André Marinha

PhD Candidate at IPRI-UNL

António Dias

PhD Candidate at IPRI-UNL

Inês Luís


Victor Sokari

PhD candidate at ICS-UL

Advisory board

Anja Osei

University of Konstanz

Letlhogonolo Letshele

Researcher at My Vote Counts

Robert Mattes

University of Strathclyde Glasgow

Shane Martin

University of Essex



Journal Articles

  • Sanches, E.R., Kartalis, Y. & Siachiwena, H. (forthcoming), Explaining party switching in an institutionalized party system: The case of South Africa. Journal of Southern African Studies.
  • Sá, A.S. & Kilumbo, O. (forthcoming), UNITA’s post-war parliamentary elite: from a wartime defeat to a nationwide party in Angola. Journal of Southern African Studies.


Book chapters

Sanches, E. R. & Dias, António (2021) Ghana: The Politics of Legislative Debates in a Hybrid Presidential Regime. In H. Bäck, M. Debus, & J. M. Fernandes (eds.), The Politics of Legislative Debate Around the World. Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 399-419.


MPs Biographic

Country-level longitudinal datasets featuring biographic background data of legislators in Ghana (since 1991), Namibia (since 1989) and South Africa (since 2014).  The data collected includes age, gender, seniority, localness, committee experience, districts’ sociodemographic characteristics, among others (in progress).

Activity Datasets

Country-level datasets containing parliamentary speeches and questions, and their constituency focus over time. The data will include at least two of the case studies (South Africa and Ghana), for over twenty years (in progress).


Online surveys will be conducted with legislators in Ghana, Namibia and South Africa, to understand how they allocate their time, what exactly do they do in their home constituency, and whether constituency service matters for their political careers and, most importantly, to the citizens (in progress).