Now showing 1 - 6 of 6
  • Publication
    Parliamentary Activity, Re-Selection and the Personal Vote. Evidence from Flexible-List Systems
    (Oxford University Press, 2018-10) ; ;
    In this article, we analyse how the degree of parliamentary activity affects both individual MPs’ performance in the candidate selection process within the party and their popularity with voters at the electoral stage. We expect that parliamentary work of MPs matters less for voters’ evaluations of MPs because of limited monitoring capacities and lower salience attached to this type of representation. The empirical analysis uses data from recent elections in the Czech Republic and Sweden. During the analysed period, these countries further personalised their flexible list electoral systems. Our results suggest that parties hold MPs accountable mainly through the threat of non-re-selection rather than by assigning them to a promising list position. While there is no evidence that voters consistently reward MPs’ effort, the case of the Czech elections in 2010 shows that they may do so if context draws attention to individual MPs’ work.
      225Scopus© Citations 24
  • Publication
    Personal vote-seeking in flexible list systems: How electoral incentives shape Belgian MPs' bill initiation behaviour
    It is well known that different types of electoral systems create different incentives to cultivate a personal vote and that there may be variation in intra-party competition within an electoral system. This article demonstrates that flexible list systems - where voters can choose to cast a vote for the list as ordered by the party or express preference votes for candidates - create another type of variation in personal vote-seeking incentives within the system. This variation arises because the flexibility of party-in-a-district lists results from voters' actual inclination to use preference votes and the formal weight of preference votes in changing the original list order. Hypotheses are tested which are linked to this logic for the case of Belgium, where party-in-a-district constituencies vary in their use of preference votes and the electoral reform of 2001 adds interesting institutional variation in the formal impact of preference votes on intra-party seat allocation. Since formal rules grant Belgian MPs considerable leeway in terms of bill initiation, personal vote-seeking strategies are inferred by examining the use of legislative activity as signalling tool in the period between 1999 and 2007. The results establish that personal vote-seeking incentives vary with the extent to which voters use preference votes and that this variable interacts with the weight of preference votes as defined by institutional rules. In addition, the article confirms the effect of intra-party competition on personal vote-seeking incentives and illustrates that such incentives can underlie the initiation of private members bills in a European parliamentary system.
      243Scopus© Citations 79
  • Publication
    National policy for local reasons: how MPs represent party and geographical constituency through initiatives on social security
    (Springer, 2020-07)
    In parliamentary systems of government, dyadic representation between MP and geographical constituency is considered to be of secondary importance and is typically understood as work related to particularised issues (e.g. constituency service, “pork” allocation and local matters). This paper argues that personal representation need not be particularistic. It may also come in the form of attention to national policy for local reasons, when issue salience varies across geographical constituencies due to the number of affected people or problem severity. The specific focus of the study lies on private members’ bills related to social security (pensions, unemployment, welfare). These three policies differ, among other things, in their alignment with class divisions and their link to the economic left–right dimension. They therefore allow for studying how both the party constituency and the geographical constituency shape MPs’ legislative work. The article develops specific predictions regarding how left–right position, electoral support among the affected group, and district-level recipient numbers affect legislative activity in the three policy fields. The empirical analysis uses data from Belgium (1999–2007). The results suggest that Belgian MPs represent party and geographical constituency in the case of pensions and unemployment benefits, but not in the same way as when it comes to social welfare.
      251Scopus© Citations 11
  • Publication
    The Personalization of Electoral Rules: How Shifting Influence From Selectors to Voters Affects Party Unity
    (Sage, 2021-01-29)
    How does making electoral systems more candidate-centered affect party unity? Using a principal-agent perspective, this study makes three contributions to the literature on this topic. Conceptually, it suggests thinking about the incentives due to personalization as arising from a shift in electoral impact from party selectors to voters. Theoretically, it incorporates this notion into a spatial model of parliamentary voting that also considers principals’ monitoring capacities. From the resulting framework follows a rich set of observable implications, notably that candidate-centered electoral systems facilitate rather than undermine collective action within parliamentary parties under certain conditions. Empirically, this study then analyzes the 2010 reform of Sweden’s flexible-list proportional representation system, which changed the preference vote threshold. As expected, I find that when extreme (district-based) selectors disagree with the moderate bills supported by the party group leadership, personalized rules incentivize politicians to support these policies and vote in unison.
      372Scopus© Citations 2
  • Publication
    Veto Players and Welfare State Change: What Delays Social Entitlement Bills?
    (Cambridge University Press, 2008-10-01)
    In contrast to the study of outcomes such as social spending, systematic comparative analysis of political processes underlying welfare state change is scarce. This study deals with the influence of government parties and second chambers as veto players in social entitlement legislation. It asks three questions regarding the duration and outcome of the legislative process at the parliamentary stage. Does the number of government parties or the ideological distance between them affect the passage of bills? Under which circumstances do second chambers have an influence? Does the ideological position of the leftmost governing party affect the speed of passage of bills in policy areas where there is pressure for retrenchment? The hypotheses are tested using an original dataset on social entitlement bills initiated in Belgium, Germany and the UK between 1987/88 and 2002/03. Event history analysis at the level of individual bills yields the following results: proposals initiated from among the government parties on the floor are delayed by a higher number of parties in government, by greater ideological distance between them, if the second chamber is controlled by the opposition and its approval is mandatory, if the left veto player is more rightwing and if the bills deal with expansionary or mixed policies. Cabinet bills, in contrast, are not affected by any of these factors. The results point to a number of further research questions and show that quantitative studies in comparative welfare state research can go beyond testing simple hypotheses with macro-level outcome data. © 2008 Cambridge University Press.
      220Scopus© Citations 13
  • Publication
    Is personal vote-seeking behavior effective?
    Does representatives' legislative activity have any effect on their electoral performance? A broad theoretical literature suggests so, but real-world evidence is scarce as empirically, personal and party votes are hard to separate. In this article, we examine whether bill initiation actually helps MPs to attract preference votes under flexible list electoral systems. In these systems, voters can accept the party-provided rank order or vote for specific candidates, which allows a clear distinction between personal and party votes. The empirical analysis uses data on bill initiation by Belgian MPs in the period 2003-2007 to explain their personal vote in the 2007 elections. We find that particularly single-authored proposals initiated shortly before the upcoming elections are associated with a larger personal vote.
      133Scopus© Citations 47