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Single-party parliamentary governments often have no institutional checks on their authority. Such governments can pass and implement policies constrained only by the need to maintain party loyalty and win elections. Literature on delegation suggests that such governments would never adopt reforms such as Administrative Procedures Acts (APAs) that are designed to constrain this freedom. Nevertheless, such governments do pass APAs: Greece, Portugal, Romania, Spain, and Sweden have all done so in the past 30 years. We argue that the possibility of losing power motivates parliamentary governments, both single-party and coalition, to trade current policy loss for future gain with APAs.
We build on previous theories of junior minister allocation and coalition oversight by incorporating a novel theory of strategic changes in the issues covered in party manifestos. We argue that parties use junior ministerial appointments to oversee their coalition partners on portfolios that correspond to issues emphasized by the parties’ activists when the coalition partner’s preferences deviate from the party’s. The findings, based on a data set of more than 2800 party-portfolio dyads in 10 countries, show significant support for these expectations. We find that party leaders who successfully negotiate for junior ministers to particular portfolios are most concerned about checking ideologically contentious coalition partners in areas of concern to activists. The results also illustrate the usefulness of our dyadic approach for the study of junior minister allocation.
EU member states desiring deeper integration often call for a multispeed approach to pursue ambitious projects without the hinderance of laggards. At other times, laggards have desired a multispeed approach to avoid policies they find objectionable. Under what circumstances do laggards (integrationists) propose (object) to a multispeed Europe? We investigate the institutions and member state preferences that lead these camps to accept or resist multispeed proposals, paying particular attention to how a multispeed approach affects member state bargaining power. We present a series of case studies to demonstrate that the preference configurations we examine do, in fact, lead states to pursue the policies with regard to a multispeed Europe that we expect.
This study examines when and why members of the European Parliament (EP) use parliamentary questions as a form of fire alarm oversight. We argue that the multilevel nature of the EU political system allows members of the EP from national opposition parties to use parliamentary questions to alert the European Commission to governments' failures to implement EU policy. Representation in the EP provides the only avenue for such oversight for national opposition parties. Using a new sample of EP parliamentary questions, we demonstrate that MEPs from national opposition parties are more likely to alert the Commission to violations of EU law in their own member states. These parliamentary questions may lead the Commission to take legal action against member-state governments.
Much of the current literature on compulsory voting (CV) examines its effects by simulating complete turnout. We argue that these studies do not capture the full effects of CV, as there is something qualitatively different about compulsory voting rules as compared to only increasing turnout. Furthermore, CV and turnout have important, yet unexplored, interactive effects. To test this argument, we look at governments in 43 countries over the 1990–2006 period. Nine of these countries have some form of CV. We examine the effect of CV on the ideological position and range of governments, left party seat share, and the effective number of parties. We find that high turnout in the presence of CV laws spreads out the distribution of voters and leads to an increase in the effective number of parliamentary parties and a larger ideological range of governments. These results have important implications for how we study CV and its consequences for party strategy.
With 27 member states using a variety of administrative practices and institutions to implement European Union (EU) policy, the EU has been widely used as a natural laboratory for analyzing administrative politics and institutions. This research has largely focused on the institutional relationships as they are at the time of the analysis. However, the EU has used several legislative procedures. Furthermore, there has been little attention given to the administrative and delegatory consequences of changes in the EU's legislative procedures. This article examines how legislative institutions' preferences for limits to the implementing discretion of the Commission and the member states have changed with the shift from the cooperation procedure to the codecision procedure. I find that the European Parliament (EP) responded to the codecision procedure by increasing the share of its amendments that expand the implementing discretion of member states. Furthermore, the Council significantly changed its attitude toward EP amendments restricting Commission discretion.
The authors examine the administrative procedures acts (APAs) of separation of powers and parliamentary systems. They examine sixteen national APAs (thirteen parliamentary and three presidential) and forty-eight APAs from the U.S. states that have institutional structures analogous to the presidential systems. They identify a very stark difference between the parliamentary and presidential APAs. While all of the presidential system APAs place constraints on both adjudicative and rulemaking activities, only two of the parliamentary APAs make any reference to rulemaking at all. The authors present an institutional explanation for this observation based on recent work on veto players and delegated discretion to administrative agents. They argue that the presence of partisan veto players discourages focus on rulemaking in APAs.
There is growing interest in whether and how parties matter. We add to this discussion by exploring the ways in which parties matter for policy outcomes. To do this, we look at the European Union (EU) member states' progress towards the greenhouse gas emissions targets set for them by the Kyoto Protocol and the EU's Burden Sharing Agreement. We find that governments that are more pro-environment and less ideologically divided make better progress towards their targets. We also demonstrate that green party representation in government predicts convergence. This article contributes to research examining the ways in which parties matter as well as the growing literature on coalition politics and veto players.
Recent research on the European Parliament (EP) has neglected the idiosyncrasies of niche parties. Similarly, analyses of niche parties have not fully engaged the literature on the EP. This article builds on both literatures by analysing niche party behaviour in the EP as a distinct phenomenon. It is argued that niche parties will respond differently to institutional stimuli than parties more generally. To test this argument, Hix, Noury and Roland's work on EP party voting behaviour is replicated concentrating on niche parties only. It is found that participation in national government and institutional changes affect niche party legislators' voting behaviour, whereas they do not for legislators in the EP overall. These results have important implications for understanding both party behaviour in the EP and niche party behaviour more generally.
This article shows that member state governments' ability rather than their willingness to implement directives drives uneven implementation of European Union labor policy. Analysis of 186 labor policy infringement cases against 15 member states between 1978 and 2000 shows that administrative oversight mechanisms that concentrate authority in the hands of government and exclude interest group participation enhance governments' ability to resolve conflicts with the Commission over implementation. Mechanisms that depend on cooperation with interest groups inhibit the resolution of these conflicts. This finding undermines the common prescription that increasing interest group involvement should improve member state governments' implementation of EU laws.