Literature Review: Does politicisation matter for EU representation? A comparison of four European Parliament elections

The European Union´s (EU) polities and politics, the party-system and the public debate become ever more contested, a phenomenon referred to as politicisation. Vasilopoulou and Gattermann investigate the possible influence of the latter on the perceived political representation of voters through parties in the European Parliament (EP). The authors argue that politicisation could potentially reduce the relative voter congruence (RVC), i.e. the ideological distance of the individual voter in relation to all citizens that casted their vote for the same party. Because of growing contestation, party positions on EU policy and polity change. As voters increasingly voice their preferences, parties may reflect the views of voters more closely. Alternatively, Vasilopoulou and Gattermann hypothesise that politicisation has no effects on RVC because of the EP´s second-order election characteristics and the member state´s heterogeneity. The authors test these expectations based on data for the EU-15 countries over the course of four elections (1999-2014).… Read More Literature Review: Does politicisation matter for EU representation? A comparison of four European Parliament elections

The U.S election – A list of informative pieces

The U.S. presidential election is less than two weeks away. We are getting overwhelmed by the flood of information in the media and academic community engaging with the election and we thought you might find it hard to navigate through it too. So, we compiled a list of articles, stories and links we find to be most informative:… Read More The U.S election – A list of informative pieces

Literature Review: Policy congruence and its impact on satisfaction with democracy

In his recently article published in Electoral Studies, B. Ferland analyses how the extent to which preferences of citizens are considered in legislative processes affects their satisfaction with democracy. Taking into account different facets, the author considers three forms of congruence: the extent to which policy interests of citizens correspond to those of their preferred party, to the government and to enacted policies. If citizens expect that their opinions are represented by legislatures and executives, the satisfaction with how democracy works should increase as their interests are better mirrored. Going a step further, an innovative argument introduces a hierarchical order suggesting that correspondence between enacted policies and citizens is the strongest driver for democratic satisfaction, as enacted laws have most direct and visible impact on voters’ lives. … Read More Literature Review: Policy congruence and its impact on satisfaction with democracy

Asylum-related parliamentary questions during the refugee crisis in the German Bundestag: Surprising lessons from a content analysis

Five years have passed since the large inflow of people seeking asylum in Europe that was also labeled “refugee crisis”. At that time, public discourses in the EU member countries evolved around narratives emphasizing humanitarianism, security threat, and economization. Within weeks, the main message sent by the media and politicians shifted from empathic support for vulnerable individuals to suspicious and hostile eyeballing of sometimes even dangerous strangers (Georgiu and Zaborowski 2017). In this blog post, we are interested in the way individual MPs addressed the topic asylum during the course of the crisis. We aim to explore two related research questions: Firstly, did the content of MPs’ parliamentary questions undergo a similar shift from refugee- to nation-state-centered priorities? And secondly, which substantial priorities can we uncover in the parliamentary questions submitted by MPs of immigrant origin?… Read More Asylum-related parliamentary questions during the refugee crisis in the German Bundestag: Surprising lessons from a content analysis

Almost invisible: Female politicians in Austrian election media coverage

The underrepresentation of women in campaign coverage is undoubtedly part of a consistent power struggle (Celis and Lovenduski, 2018). Therefore, national parliaments in Western democracies as well as the European Parliament have adopted voluntary or mandatory quota systems (Celis and Lovenduski, 2018; Council of Europe, 2017). As a result, the general visibility of female politicians has increased, albeit rather slowly. In the European Parliament, 29.6 percent of members were women in 1999. By 2008, this number had risen to 31.2 percent and just under a decade later, in 2017, 37.3 percent of Members of European Parliament (MEPs) were women (European Commission, 2009; European Parliament, 2017). However, the question arises as to what extent the media still disadvantages female politicians compared to male politicians in election campaigns. The media can break, but also foster existing stereotypes such as the marginalization and trivialization of female politicians (Wolf, 2008).… Read More Almost invisible: Female politicians in Austrian election media coverage

Literature Review: Loyal soldiers or seasoned leaders? The selection of committee chairs in the European Parliament

Although the position of committee chairs in the European Parliament has become increasingly important and is highly appealing to MEPs, we know little about how they are selected. To fill this gap, in his recently published article in JEPP, M. Chiru sheds light on whether committee seniority and chair seniority affect the likelihood of MEPs to become chair. Building on informational and partisan theories of legislative organization, one of the text’s main arguments predicts pervious leadership positions as a chair should increase the likelihood of receiving the position as committee chair. According to the informational perspective of committee organization, chairs accumulate technical knowledge, develop leadership skills and form personal relationships with other EP or EU leaders irrespective of the committee they preside. This insider knowledge about the legislative processes is, in turn, perceived as most decisive for the nomination as committee chair.… Read More Literature Review: Loyal soldiers or seasoned leaders? The selection of committee chairs in the European Parliament

Our cabinet will survive! How women in the executive influence government stability

The interaction of cabinet members takes place inside a black box. However, when disputes within the government become public, it appears like female cabinet members display a different leadership style than their male colleagues. For instance, gendered conflict resolution strategies became visible when the Merkel IV cabinet had to define a new climate protection strategy in 2019 and interests in various policy areas clashed. Disagreement between the female minister of environment, Svenja Schulze (SPD), and the female minister of agriculture, Julia Klöckner (CDU/CSU), were solved through direct communication and focused on the substance of the problem. By contrast, the male minister of transport, Andreas Scheuer (CDU/CSU), attacked the environmental minister on a personal level and through the media. Scheuer publicly claimed that Schulze intentionally reached poor results for Germany at EU-level negotiations to put her interests through, compared her policy proposals to communist policies and limited the scope for compromise by claiming his party would never support initiatives similar to those of Schulze (Kersting and Murphy 2019; Krämer 2018; Preker 2020; Welt 2019). Public disputes of this sort can have far-reaching consequences and cause fractions within government. In our new article in the Journal of European Public Policy, we propose that – as a consequence of such gendered patterns of leadership style – women’s presence as ministers and prime ministers decreases the risk for early cabinet termination and, hence, makes governments more stable.… Read More Our cabinet will survive! How women in the executive influence government stability