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The MPs Dilemma. Responsiveness and Representation in Times of Legislative Primaries. Insights from the Italian Case

Elections
Political Parties
Representation
Voting
Candidate
Antonella Seddone
Università degli Studi di Torino
Stefano Rombi
Università degli Studi di Cagliari
Antonella Seddone
Università degli Studi di Torino

Abstract

This Paper deals with the consequences of primary elections by focusing on responsiveness. Resorting from a large dataset including Italian MPs elected in 2013 General Elections, it will be investigated MPs legislative behaviour in terms of responsiveness, operationalized into two main dimensions: a) party responsiveness and b) policy responsiveness. Italian case is particularly interesting on this regard since MPs have been selected through a range of very different methods in terms of inclusiveness (open primaries, closed primaries, exclusive procedures). The main independent variable is the selection method while the two dependent variables tested are: a) party responsiveness, defined as a continuous variable measuring the percentage of votes casted by MPs against the party line; b) policy responsiveness, defined as a continuous variable measuring MPs parliamentary activity focusing on their own electoral district (signing bills). A first descriptive analyses on MPs socio-political profile will be followed by inferential analyses aimed to test the following two main hypotheses: h1) the higher inclusiveness of selection methods the higher likelihood of policy responsiveness; h2) the higher inclusiveness of selection methods the lower likelihood of party responsiveness. A set of control variables is included. We take into account also the number of votes gained by MPs selected through open or closed primaries. This will allow us to develop a second set of analyses focused on MPs selected through inclusive procedures aimed to assess the impact of primaries (in terms of number of votes) on our dependent variables. In particular, we argue: h3) the higher number of votes obtained in primaries the higher likelihood of policy responsiveness and h4) the higher number of votes obtained in primaries the lower likelihood of party responsiveness. Further analysis on incumbents and MPs from the same party but selected through different procedures will help to control and confirm our results.