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The Unequal Distribution of Speaking Time in Parliamentary-Party Groups

Bäck, Hanna LU ; Baumann, Markus LU ; Debus, Marc and Müller, Jochen (2019) In Legislative Studies Quarterly 44(1). p.163-193
Abstract

Parliamentary debates provide an arena where Members of Parliament (MPs) present, challenge, or defend public policies. However, the “plenary bottleneck” allows the party leadership to decide who participates in a debate. We argue that in this decision the timing of a debate matters: in proximity of elections, the leadership should be concerned with maintaining its brand name and therefore restrict floor access, in particular if the debate is salient for the respective party. We evaluate our hypotheses in a cross-country study drawing on a novel data set covering all speeches given during one or two legislative terms in six European parliaments. We find that the electoral cycle matters for the distribution of speaking time: Party... (More)

Parliamentary debates provide an arena where Members of Parliament (MPs) present, challenge, or defend public policies. However, the “plenary bottleneck” allows the party leadership to decide who participates in a debate. We argue that in this decision the timing of a debate matters: in proximity of elections, the leadership should be concerned with maintaining its brand name and therefore restrict floor access, in particular if the debate is salient for the respective party. We evaluate our hypotheses in a cross-country study drawing on a novel data set covering all speeches given during one or two legislative terms in six European parliaments. We find that the electoral cycle matters for the distribution of speaking time: Party leaders do restrict parliamentary speechmaking to a smaller number of MPs at the end of the term. This has important implications for our understanding of parliaments as an electoral arena and for our understanding of intraparty politics.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
in
Legislative Studies Quarterly
volume
44
issue
1
pages
163 - 193
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:85055962457
ISSN
0362-9805
DOI
10.1111/lsq.12222
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
df0f9927-10b8-4edc-96d9-d1db0762fec4
date added to LUP
2018-11-23 12:29:37
date last changed
2019-11-05 05:07:52
@article{df0f9927-10b8-4edc-96d9-d1db0762fec4,
  abstract     = {<p>Parliamentary debates provide an arena where Members of Parliament (MPs) present, challenge, or defend public policies. However, the “plenary bottleneck” allows the party leadership to decide who participates in a debate. We argue that in this decision the timing of a debate matters: in proximity of elections, the leadership should be concerned with maintaining its brand name and therefore restrict floor access, in particular if the debate is salient for the respective party. We evaluate our hypotheses in a cross-country study drawing on a novel data set covering all speeches given during one or two legislative terms in six European parliaments. We find that the electoral cycle matters for the distribution of speaking time: Party leaders do restrict parliamentary speechmaking to a smaller number of MPs at the end of the term. This has important implications for our understanding of parliaments as an electoral arena and for our understanding of intraparty politics.</p>},
  author       = {Bäck, Hanna and Baumann, Markus and Debus, Marc and Müller, Jochen},
  issn         = {0362-9805},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {163--193},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Legislative Studies Quarterly},
  title        = {The Unequal Distribution of Speaking Time in Parliamentary-Party Groups},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/lsq.12222},
  volume       = {44},
  year         = {2019},
}