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Parliaments and Political Representation

Comparative Politics
Government
Institutions
Parliaments
Political Parties
Representation
S42
Tamaki Ohmura
ETH Zurich / Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research WSL
Tom Louwerse
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden

Endorsed by the ECPR Standing Group on Parliaments


Abstract

Legislative bodies within modern democratic systems are conceptualized as representative bodies – connecting elected agents and their voters. Who is represented, and to what extent, is not only a question of the institutional arrangements, such as the electoral system or the number of veto players, but also very much a question of party groups’ strategies and individual MPs’ understanding of their role as representatives. The proposed section combines eight panels which seek to advance the study of political representation via parliaments from several different perspectives: The representation of interests based on the similarities or dissimilarities between principals and agents, the extent to which these bodies are connected to one another or dependent on each other, and the strategies that the relevant actors employ within these relationships. This section seeks to reevaluate the link between voters and their representatives in a time when voter participation is relatively low in many established democratic systems, but the tools to gather information and evaluate MPs behaviors are manifold and widely available. Panels 1. Policy Congruence between Parliamentary Parties and Voters (chair: Jan Rosset, discussant: Christan Stecker) Congruence between voters and representatives is a central yardstick for the quality of democracies. This panel welcomes empirical assessments of congruence using traditional (left-right) and new (multi-issue) perspectives. 2. Electoral Systems and Parliamentary Party Strategies (chair: Audrey André, discussant: Thomas Zittel) The electoral system is the key to the translation of voters’ concerns into legislative consequences. Depending on the design of the electoral system, however, these voter concerns lead to different aggregations of voters’ interests, where some may be more represented than others. This panel seeks to collect papers that focus on the legislative consequences of different electoral-systems, especially complex electoral systems. 3. The Consequences of Women’s Descriptive Representation in Parliament (chair: Zdenka Mansfeldova, discussant: Tamaki Ohmura) This panel welcomes empirical papers seeking to shed light on the varying levels of descriptive representation of women and minorities in parliament and specifically the consequences thereof. Possible consequences have been discussed in theoretical as well as empirical analysis: a more effective representation of women by women or of minorities by minorities, as well as a diversification of the interests of female and minority representatives beyond their group specific issues. 4. Parliamentary Rules and the Representation of Minority Preferences (chair: Laura Morales, discussant: Radoslaw Zubek) This panel will deal with the descriptive and, above all, substantive representation of the views and preferences of citizens of immigrant origin and ethnic minority groups in modern parliaments. Panelists will be able to draw on recent innovative work in the United States and Europe as well as the findings of a number of major comparative European projects devoted to collect behavioural and attitudinal data on the issue. They will present work on the link between the institutional rules of parliaments on the one hand and representation of minority groups on the other. 5. Opposition Parties in Legislatures. Responsiveness without Responsibility? (chair: Elisabetta de Giorgi, discussant: Gabriella Ilonszki) This panel seeks to investigate parliamentary behaviour of the opposition parties, that is, parties that are either temporarily or permanently out of power but have representatives in national legislatures. Democratic theory considers it fundamental for parties in government to be both responsive to their electorate and responsible to internal and international constraints, but these two roles have recently become more and more incompatible (Bardi et al. 2014, Freire et al. 2014, Rose 2014). Government capacity and vocation have become characteristic of a small group of actors, located at the centre of the party system and able to offer voters a government alternative. At the same time, the ability to represent, that is, to act as the people’s voice, seems to have become characteristic of a different group of parties: the “new opposition” (Mair 2011). 6. Text as Data in Legislative Studies (chair: Daniela Giannetti, discussant: Thomas Däubler) All papers using a quantitative assessment of legislative speeches and texts be it to measure issue salience, party or individual level preferences, as well as the representation of specialized interests are welcome to this panel. 7. Issue Congruence and Responsiveness (chair: Tom Louwerse, discussant: Zac Greene) Building on the panel “Policy Congruence between Parliamentary Parties and Voters”, this second panel on the question of issue congruence, extends the view to include responsiveness of elected representatives toward different groups of voters and whether voters perceive MPs to be responsive to their concerns. 8. Legislating in Bicameral and Multi-Level Systems (chair: Thomas Winzen, discussant: David Willumsen) This panel seeks to gather papers studying the interaction between different chambers in bicameral as well as multi-level systems such as the EU and the consequences of their different representative foci on the legislative process and output. 10. Parliamentary representation and parliamentary government (chair: Denise Traber, discussant, Lanny Martin) Section chairs Tom Louwerse is Assistant Professor at Trinity College, Dublin. His research interests include political representation, parliamentary politics, voting advice applications and political parties. He has published in journals such as Acta Politica, Electoral Studies, Journal of Legislative Studies, Parliamentary Affairs, Political Science Research & Methods, and Political Studies. He has been a member of the Standing Group on Parliament’s Steering Committee since May 2015. In September 2015, he was awarded the Emerging Scholar Award of the Organized Section on Political Organizations and Parties (APSA). He takes up a position at Leiden University in January 2016. Tamaki Ohmura is a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Basel. She holds a degree in political science, economics, and economic history from the University of Zurich and a PhD from ETH Zurich. She was elected as Co-Convenor of the Standing Group on Parliaments in 2015 and was a member of the Standing Group’s Steering Committee since 2013. Her research interests are in the area of legislative studies, specifically the effects of electoral systems on individual level legislative behavior, the representation of women in parliaments, and voting behavior on issues of conscience and free votes.
Code Title Details
P113 Electoral Systems and Parliamentary Party Strategies View Panel Details
P138 Explaining the Representation of Women and Minorities in Parliament View Panel Details
P214 Issue Congruence and Responsiveness View Panel Details
P227 Legislating in Bicameral and Multi-Level Systems View Panel Details
P287 Parliamentary Opposition in European Legislatures. Responsiveness without Responsibility? View Panel Details
P288 Parliamentary Representation and Parliamentary Government View Panel Details
P289 Parliamentary Rules and the Representation of Minority Preferences View Panel Details
P304 Policy Congruence between Voters and Representatives View Panel Details
P395 Text as Data in Legislative Studies View Panel Details