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Representing the Region on the Floor : Socioeconomic Characteristics of Electoral Districts and Legislative Speechmaking

Bäck, Hanna LU and Debus, Marc (2018) In Parliamentary Affairs 71(1). p.73-102
Abstract

Does it matter which electoral districtsMembers of Parliament (MPs) represent when participating in parliamentary debates? We suggest that the party leadership, in particular in governing parties, will try to keep MPs off the floor if they come from regions with economic problems, because such MPs are more likely to deviate from the party line. This should be especially likely when MPs are directly elected and have incentives to create a personal platform. The characteristics of the German electoral system allow for evaluating this argument. By analysing 9824 speeches in Bundestag debates focusing on economic issues and 8357 speeches held in debates on societal, foreign and education policy, we find support for our hypotheses that... (More)

Does it matter which electoral districtsMembers of Parliament (MPs) represent when participating in parliamentary debates? We suggest that the party leadership, in particular in governing parties, will try to keep MPs off the floor if they come from regions with economic problems, because such MPs are more likely to deviate from the party line. This should be especially likely when MPs are directly elected and have incentives to create a personal platform. The characteristics of the German electoral system allow for evaluating this argument. By analysing 9824 speeches in Bundestag debates focusing on economic issues and 8357 speeches held in debates on societal, foreign and education policy, we find support for our hypotheses that directly elected MPs deliver significantly fewer speeches in economic debates the worse the economic situation is in the district they represent. However, there is no clear pattern when differentiating between MPs from the government or opposition camp in terms of the number of delivered speeches in parliamentary debates.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Electoral system, German Bundestag, Parliamentary speeches, Principal-agent framework, Representation
in
Parliamentary Affairs
volume
71
issue
1
pages
30 pages
external identifiers
  • scopus:85040102093
ISSN
0031-2290
DOI
10.1093/pa/gsx014
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
514cf82e-a463-4507-96bc-0617d498833b
date added to LUP
2018-01-15 09:12:04
date last changed
2018-01-15 09:12:04
@article{514cf82e-a463-4507-96bc-0617d498833b,
  abstract     = {<p>Does it matter which electoral districtsMembers of Parliament (MPs) represent when participating in parliamentary debates? We suggest that the party leadership, in particular in governing parties, will try to keep MPs off the floor if they come from regions with economic problems, because such MPs are more likely to deviate from the party line. This should be especially likely when MPs are directly elected and have incentives to create a personal platform. The characteristics of the German electoral system allow for evaluating this argument. By analysing 9824 speeches in Bundestag debates focusing on economic issues and 8357 speeches held in debates on societal, foreign and education policy, we find support for our hypotheses that directly elected MPs deliver significantly fewer speeches in economic debates the worse the economic situation is in the district they represent. However, there is no clear pattern when differentiating between MPs from the government or opposition camp in terms of the number of delivered speeches in parliamentary debates.</p>},
  author       = {Bäck, Hanna and Debus, Marc},
  issn         = {0031-2290},
  keyword      = {Electoral system,German Bundestag,Parliamentary speeches,Principal-agent framework,Representation},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {01},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {73--102},
  series       = {Parliamentary Affairs},
  title        = {Representing the Region on the Floor : Socioeconomic Characteristics of Electoral Districts and Legislative Speechmaking},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/pa/gsx014},
  volume       = {71},
  year         = {2018},
}