Parliamentary Committees and Ex-post Oversight: Institutional Options and Design

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Abstract

Parliamentary oversight of executive power is a parliamentary system concern, considering weaker ex-post institutional oversight mechanisms and actor incentive challenges. Yet, institutional options are precondition for making parliamentary ex-post oversight work and this article investigates which type of options in fact exists within the vital committee system and how they are designed. The expectation is that ex-post oversight options depend on distributional power structures, being stronger for systems with traditions for minority compared to majority governments. For the design, the expectation is an institutional ‘efficient’ outcome in terms of ex-post oversight options being placed in a controlled central oversight committee, and that this applies regardless of government traditions. Empirically, focus is on the five most similar Nordic state parliamentary cases that vary in committee settings and in government traditions. For the investigation focus is on specific ex-post oversight options, the design of these options and overall de-facto use. The findings show a clear difference between the Scandinavian minority cases and the Icelandic and Finnish majority cases. For the design, most cases have ex-post oversight options designed for specific oversight committees, but where the Danish Folketing deviates by providing several options in different committees.
Original languageEnglish
JournalParliamentary Affairs
ISSN0031-2290
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Jul 2023

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