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ECPR Futures Lab 2020

Analyzing Organization in Parliaments: Causes and Consequences

Comparative Politics
European Politics
Political Economy
Workshop Number
Workshop Director
Shane Martin
University of Essex
Workshop Co-Director
Tim Mickler
Departments of Political Science and Public Administration, Universiteit Leiden

Parliaments and legislatures are present throughout the world and play a central role in almost all political systems. They engage in a wide variety of tasks including linking citizens to the government, executive oversight, and policy making. However, even if extensive powers are formally granted, parliaments run the risk of being wholly ineffective in their operation. How parliaments organize, and in particular how they allow for an effective division of labor between MPs, determines in large part their actual influence vis à-vis the executive. There is a large variation in how parliaments choose to organize themselves. By far the largest amount of comparative scholarly attention is given to the issue of committees as the core organizational feature of parliaments. While the concepts derived from US congressional theories proved to be somewhat helpful to understand the process of legislative organization there is agreement among scholars that the study of the internal organization of parliaments needs to evolve from drawing too heavily on the congressional literature. More comparative research is needed in order to arrive at a deeper understanding of legislative organization which take into account cross-national variation in political culture and rules. The proposed workshop aims to explore, theoretically and empirically, the nature and evolution of parliamentary committee systems and the consequences of such variation in design. Core questions to be addressed include: (1) descriptively, what do committee systems look like in different parliaments and how have committee systems evolved over time, for example are they becoming more- or less- significant? (2) What explains cross-national and over-time variations, and (3), what are the consequences of such variation in how parliaments are organized for parliament and the wider political system and public policy.

Paper List

Title Details
A Tale of Strength and Weakness: The Parliamentary Committee System in Israel View Paper Details
Cabinets, Committees and Careers in 19th Century France View Paper Details
Committee Assignments in Parliaments with Strong Party Groups - An Analysis of the Bundestag, the Tweede Kamer and Dáil Éirann View Paper Details
Committee Office Allocation under High Informational and Organizational Constraints: A Longitudinal Analysis View Paper Details
Distributing Party and Committee Posts: A Parliamentary Theory of Distribution View Paper Details
Explaining Patterns of Legislative Organization in Subnational Parliaments View Paper Details
Government Agenda Power in Parliamentary Democracies View Paper Details
Hostages to Fortune? Group Representation in the Committee Systems of Post-Communist Legislatures View Paper Details
Legislative Amendments, Agency Loss, and Shadow Chairs View Paper Details
Legislative Organization in the European Parliament (EP): Using Committee Roll-Calls to Understand the Party-Committee Relationship View Paper Details
Minority Government Revisited View Paper Details
Parties, Partners, Principals, and Agents: Coalition Politics and Individual Preferences in Institutional Context View Paper Details
Personal Ambitions, Expertise or Parties’ Choices? Understanding Committee Assignments in the Italian Chamber of Deputies View Paper Details
Policy-Making Power of Opposition Parties View Paper Details
Strong Committees Coming Out of Age in Strong Parliaments? The Case of Czech Chamber of Deputies and Slovak National Council View Paper Details
The Absorption of Legislative Standing Committees: The Case of the Hungarian Parliament View Paper Details
The Determinants of Selection to Agriculture Committees in Comparative Perspective: Institutional, Organisational, and Distributional Influences View Paper Details
The Electoral Consequences of Committee Chair Nominations in Belgium View Paper Details
The Institutions of Parliamentarism: Organizing Executive-Legislative Relations View Paper Details
Varieties of Parliamentarism. A Long-Term Comparison of Western European Parliaments View Paper Details
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