Speaking or drafting? How parties’ candidate selection procedures shape the prioritization of parliamentary activities in the European Parliament

Legislators have a large number of duties but only a limited amount of time. This scarcity of time is a particularly severe problem for the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs): they act on several political levels (the European level, the national sphere and possibly the regional level) and must bridge large geographical distances. Additionally, MEPs serve multiple principals: their national party and their European Party Group (EPG) (e.g., Hix & Høyland, 2014). For coping with this workload, it is wise to prioritize some parliamentary activities over others. For instance, some MEPs tend to favor parliamentary speeches over written questions or the drafting of legislative texts (proposals) over legislative opinions. Some extraordinary active MEPs in the 7th legislative term of the European Parliament (2009-2014), for example, held more than 2000 speeches within five years. Yet, we still do not know why some MEPs prioritize speeches, while others prefer to draft written questions, reports or opinions. Accordingly, in our recent article in Politics and Governance, we ask: How can we explain MEPs’ prioritization strategy in terms of different parliamentary activities?… Read More Speaking or drafting? How parties’ candidate selection procedures shape the prioritization of parliamentary activities in the European Parliament

Literature Review: The Gendered Effects of Public Discontent on Legislative Nominations in Latin America

In this recently published article in Party Politics, Funk, Hinojosa and Piscopo analyze strategic candidate nominations of political parties in response to unfavorable political contexts. They argue that if public discontent with legislatures and perceived corruption is high, political elites have an incentive to nominate more women in order to maximize vote shares. Based on the assumption that women (according to gendered stereotypes) are associated with higher morality, more civic-mindedness and less corruption, political parties strategically assemble more diverse candidate lists in contexts of skepticism. With this strategy, they aim to signal the voter that the party is changing course and thus deserve voters’ trust and, in turn, hope to increase vote shares. Using data from more than 100 political parties in 18 Latin American countries, the authors show that discontent can indeed have gendered effects: parties nominate more women when a large proportion of the public distrusts the national legislature.… Read More Literature Review: The Gendered Effects of Public Discontent on Legislative Nominations in Latin America