Institutional change in parliament through cross-border partisan emulation

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Institutional responses of parliaments to international developments are widely regarded as efficient changes because they tend to be unaffected by partisan preferences and benefit all members of parliament equally. This article challenges that common notion by providing evidence that the institutional responses of national parliaments to European integration are in large part the result of international partisan emulation. Spatial regression analyses robustly show that parliamentary EU oversight institutions diffuse across member states whose majority parties have similar constitutional preferences. A parliament is more likely to emulate the EU oversight institution of another parliament if their majority parties have similar ideas about the territorial distribution of power and institutional framework for policy making. This result has important implications for our understanding of institutional change in parliament. Responses of parliaments to external developments may appear non-partisan at first sight but unfold partisan characteristics if one looks beyond the domestic level.

Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Pages (from-to)203-224
Number of pages22
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jan 2020


  • European Union
  • institutional change
  • national parliaments
  • parliamentary oversight


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