Can Women Save the Environment? How Female Members of the European Parliament Make a Difference on Environmental Legislation

“Our house is on fire. I am here to say, our house is on fire.” Greta Thunberg (2019) puts it blatantly clear: our style of living is threatening our very existence; we are destroying the ground we live on – and if we do not radically change our conveniently arranged lives now, we won’t have the chance to turn the tide anymore. Living in a representative democracy, it is, however, not only us, the citizens, who have to act. Far-reaching decisions about environmental politics are taken by parliamentarians. Hence, we would probably want to know what delegates think about environmental issues and whether they act in accordance with these preferences.… Read More Can Women Save the Environment? How Female Members of the European Parliament Make a Difference on Environmental Legislation

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Why do people (not) turn out to vote in local elections?

Local elections differ in very profound ways from national elections: The electorate is rather small and homogenous and the elected body is considered to be closer to the people. To some extent, these differences should translate into variations in participation with voters being easily able to make informed choices at the local level. Research analyzing participation in the local or national elections or the gaps between these two stress the importance of individual-level factors, or macro-level socio-economic, political and institutional variables (for an overview see Geys 2006 and Stockemer 2017). The peculiarities of municipal elections, makes them a very interesting setting to investigate variations in turnout across and within countries as well as over time. Hence, in this blog post, I ask the question whether the aggregate-level factors described by previous studies can also explain differences in the share of constituents turning out to four local elections in the Austrian State of Salzburg between 2004 and 2019.… Read More Why do people (not) turn out to vote in local elections?

Which conservatives voted against May’s Brexit deal?

This week’s “meaningful vote” in the House of Commons marks one of the most remarkable losses a British prime minister ever had to experience. 68.1% of all representatives voted against the deal negotiated by May’s government with the European Union. Even within her Conservative party, the prime minister experienced considerable opposition with 37.6% of the MPs voting against the EU (withdrawal) Act. In this brief blog contribution, I aim to identify which conservative MPs were most likely to vote against their own government’s Brexit proposal. Were representatives with certain social characteristics and contextual settings in their districts more likely to vote ‘no’?… Read More Which conservatives voted against May’s Brexit deal?

The Alternative for Germany in parliament – Still an unexperienced newbie?

It has been one year since the last German national election and the entry of the Alternative for Germany into parliament. Holding about 30 percent of the legislative seats, the right-wing populist party constitutes the largest opposition fraction. By customary law, leading the opposition in the German parliament involves important symbolic powers such as the right to reply directly to government statements or to chair the influential financial committee. How does the newly elected party make use of its role as largest opposition fraction so far?… Read More The Alternative for Germany in parliament – Still an unexperienced newbie?

Literature Review: Double barriers or outgroup advantage

In the recent article, Stockemer and Sundström ask whether young women, compared to older women, are more likely to be elected to parliaments. Since most male representatives are middle-aged to senior, such a negative relationship between age and electoral success of women appears counter-intuitive. Yet, theories about biases in recruitment practices indicate that candidates with two outgroup traits such as young women might actually have better chances to be granted viable list positions.… Read More Literature Review: Double barriers or outgroup advantage

New publication: How to measure the substantive representation of traditionally excluded groups in comparative research?

In her recent publication in the Journal of Representation, Corinna Kroeber answers the question of how researchers can measure the substantive representation of ethnic minorities and women in comparative studies? Most research studying to what extent representatives and parliaments are considerate of traditionally excluded groups’ political interest focuses on single countries. This makes it difficult to study important questions such as whether or to what extent electoral incentives moderate the motivation of belonging legislators to advocate for their group’s political interests. Or, in which manner women’s or minority organizations outside parliaments promote feminist or minority-friendly legislations. To close these and similar research gaps, it is necessary to compare traditionally excluded groups in different country contexts.… Read More New publication: How to measure the substantive representation of traditionally excluded groups in comparative research?

Which candidates are placed on top of lists? Examining characteristics selectors are looking for in candidates to legislative elections

Candidate selection is one of the most important tasks of political parties. It determines who is placed in front of the electorate and thus often the parties’ electoral fortune. Despite this importance, only few parties have implemented formal requirements prospective candidates should meet (Hazan and Rahat, 2010).[1] Due to this lack of formal rules, we… Read More Which candidates are placed on top of lists? Examining characteristics selectors are looking for in candidates to legislative elections