David Doyle and I are seeking to recruit a postdoctoral Research Associate to work on computational coding of legislative texts as part of our team on the project ‘Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis’, a 12-month project funded by the John Fell OUP Fund. More details about this position can be found here.
I have been awarded – jointly with David Doyle – a John Fell OUP Research Fund for a research project entitled ‘Measuring Government Policy with Text Analysis’. The project will run in 2016-2017.
Is government policy enhancing business activity or constraining it? Are government regulations becoming more or less business friendly? Is government policy more favourable to some sectors than others? These and similar questions are ones that citizens and businesses ask every day, but social scientists have only limited tools for measuring governments’ business policies, except through broad-brush surveys of regulatory environments. Against this backdrop, we propose to apply the recent advances in computational linguistics to develop a novel machine text analysis to produce detailed estimates of government policy across time and policy fields.
Radoslaw Zubek, Coalition Government and Committee Power (West European Politics, 38(5) 2015). In this paper, I examine the conditions under which parliamentary majorities reform legislative rules to expand or reduce committee power. I expect that, ceteris paribus, the higher the conflict inside the governing coalition, the higher the probability that parties in government adopt reforms expanding committee power and the lower the chance that they implement changes reducing such power. I test these expectations using original new data on the reforms of committee agenda powers undertaken in eight European states within 20 years from democratic transition. I find some evidence to support the endogeneity of committee power to the ideological heterogeneity of parliamentary government.
The special issue of West European Politics on ‘Explaining Legislative Organization in European Democracies’ – which I am guest-editing – has now been published. Questions regarding the origin and evolution of legislative institutions are at the heart of comparative legislative studies. Much research in this area focuses on the US Congress; in contrast, comparative studies of European democracies have been more limited. Addressing this imbalance, this special issue showcases newly emerging research on legislative organization in Europe. In doing so, it brings together contributions that explore the rationales behind the emergence of, and variation in, national European voting practices, investiture rules, minority rights, committee power, agenda control, debating rules, and individual MPs’ rights.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Parliamentary Voting Procedures in Comparison
Simon Hug, Simone Wegmann and Reto Wüest
Government Selection and Executive Powers: Constitutional Design in Parliamentary Democracies
José Antonio Cheibub, Shane Martin and Bjørn Erik Rasch
Explaining Reforms of Parliamentary Minority Rights: A Theoretical Framework with Case Study Application
Ulrich Sieberer and Wolfgang C. Müller
Coalition Government and Committee Power
Legislative Committees as Uncertainty Reduction Devices in Multiparty Parliamentary Democracies
Luigi Curini and Francesco Zucchini
Radoslaw Zubek, Heike Klüver, Legislative Pledges and Coalition Government (Party Politics, Online First). In this article, we examine how coalition cabinets fulfil post-electoral legislative agendas. Many coalitions announce programs identifying bills that they plan to introduce to parliament in the months ahead. We argue that the fulfilment of such pledges is driven by differences in the divisiveness and salience of legislative initiatives. We test our theoretical expectations based on an empirical analysis of over 500 legislative pledges made by the Polish cabinet between 2008 and 2011.