Department of Political Science

Daniel Finke

The Burden of Authorship: How Agenda-Setting and Electoral Rules Shape Legislative Behaviour

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I study the effect of agenda-setting on voting behaviour in the
European Parliament. The straightforward expectation would be that members ofparliament are more likely to support their own group’s amendments. But what if national party leaders reject their group’s proposal. In this situation party leaders have strong incentives to reinforce party discipline because otherwise they stand to lose credibility in future negotiations. Hence, authorship ties voting behaviour to the bargaining stage by means of credible commitment. Yet, the effect of agenda-setting on voting behaviour is moderated by electoral rules. I argue that this interaction between agenda rules and electoral rules has significant implications
for the political representation in the European Parliament.
Analysing voting data from the Sixth European Parliament, I find that the effect of authorship depends on the electoral rules. Members from open list systems avoid conflict with their party leaders by defecting on other groups’ proposals. Members from closed list systems are more likely to defect on their own group’s proposals, thereby confronting the party leadership. My results have important implications for the discussion on the democratic nature of the European Parliament.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Volume23
Issue4
Pages (from-to)604-623
Number of pages20
ISSN1350-1763
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

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