Every Single Word: A New Data Set Including All Parliamentary Materials Published in Germany

Parliamentary documents like written and oral questions, motions or bills represent an invaluable data source for political scientists in various fields of the discipline. They allow researchers to address topics as diverse as representation and responsiveness, parliamentary agendas and parliamentary organization. However, studies often remain limited to short periods of time and few types of documents and/or policy areas, because the process of gathering the required documents and preparing them for analyses is very time-consuming and resource-intensive. In the absence of comprehensive data sets covering all written parliamentary communication in a country, political scientists thus get only a glimpse of the full picture. In our recent publication in Government and Opposition, we introduce a novel data set containing the full official record of the Bundestag between 1949 and 2017, amounting to a total of 131,835 documents, which will enrich researchers’ data sources.… Read More Every Single Word: A New Data Set Including All Parliamentary Materials Published in Germany

Literature Review: Candidate Supply Is Not a Barrier to Immigrant Representation

n their recently published article in the American Journal of Political Science, Rafaela Dancygier, Karl-Oskar Lindgren, Pär Nyman and Kåre Vernby study why demographic changes do not translate into more diverse elected bodies. While the number of migrated people increases in West-European countries, politicians with foreign origin remain an exception. Previous research engaging with the underrepresentation of immigrants in parliaments identify the role of party gatekeepers or structural factors as cause. The authors now shift our attention to the supply side and individual-level characteristics to answer the research question: Is it possible that immigrants are simply less interested in political engagement? Having to cope with economic and social integration, migrants might not prioritize political involvement, especially if they are confronted with unknown political and institutional structures. Hence, studies emphasizing the crucial role of party gatekeepers might have overlooked the supply-effect dimension in the multiple stages of the election process. For the analysis, the authors focus on the 2014 municipal election in Sweden as the municipal office works as a political career’s starting point and is of high importance for the Swedish welfare system.… Read More Literature Review: Candidate Supply Is Not a Barrier to Immigrant Representation

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