A new grant: Connecting with UK Parliament

I have been awarded a grant from the Research and Public Policy Partnership Scheme 2020 to support on-going collaboration between the ParlRulesData.org team, the House of Commons Library (HCL) and the Parliamentary Digital Service (PDS).

The ParlRulesData project digitilizes, analyzes and makes available historical, machine-readable records of parliamentary rules (“standing orders”, “rules of procedure”) through a dedicated data website, ParlRulesData.org (launched in July 2019). The HCL is an independent research and information unit, providing impartial information for UK Members of Parliament. The PDS is a specialized service supporting the House of Commons, the House of Lords and Parliament staff on their IT and digital needs.

Our collaboration project aims to bring significant benefits in terms of facilitating political transparency, public data access and democratic accountability. HC Standing Orders – the focus of our proposed partnership — govern the process by which parliament considers important elements of public policy – primary legislation, secondary legislation, and even treaties. Making good policy requires clarity and transparency about which parliamentary rules are applicable, how they should be complied with, and – in retrospect – whether they have been followed correctly.

Blog post: Introducing UK ParlRules dataset

Together with Tom Fleming and Niels Goet, I have written a post for the LSE British Politics and Policy Blog in which we introduce a machine‐readable dataset of House of Commons Standing Orders between 1811 and 2015. We demonstrate how our data can be used to measure procedural change, and thus substantially advance our understanding of legislative reforms. You can read the full post here.

New article: Procedural change in UK House of Commons

Niels D. Goet, Thomas G. Fleming, Radoslaw Zubek (2019) ‘Procedural Change in the UK House of Commons, 1811-2015‘ Legislative Studies Quarterly. Online First.

Recent research has shown an increasing interest in the historical evolution of legislative institutions. The development of the United Kingdom Parliament has received particularly extensive attention. In this paper, we contribute to this liter- ature in three important ways. First, we introduce a complete, machine-readable dataset of all the Standing Orders of the UK House of Commons between 1811 and 2015. Second, we demonstrate how this dataset can be used to construct innovative measures of procedural change. Third, we illustrate a potential empir- ical application of the dataset, offering an exploratory test of several expectations drawn from recent theories of formal rule change in parliamentary democracies. We conclude that the new dataset has the potential to substantially advance our understanding of legislative reforms in the United Kingdom and beyond.

Blog post: Brexit and UK constitution

Together with Tom Fleming, I have written a post for OXPOL, the Oxford University Politics Blog, in which we argue that while the Brexit process may have challenged the UK government’s ability to control parliament, it was pushing at an open door. Recent events can thus be understood as an acceleration of pre-existing trends in Britain’s political institutions and political parties. You can read the full post here.

Press article: Poland’s opposition

I have written a short piece for an online weekly, Kultura Liberalna, showing that, since the last Polish elections in 2015, the largest opposition party, the Civic Platform, has supported the PiS-led majority on almost 60% of all final passage votes. This evidence places a question mark over the claim that the PO provides an aggressive opposition to the PiS government. You can read the full article here (in Polish) and the raw data is available here.

 

New article: Minority cabinets and legislative reliability

Heike Klüver, Radoslaw Zubek ‘Minority Governments and Legislative Reliability: Evidence from Denmark and Sweden’ Party Politics. Online First. 15 March 2017.

When are minority cabinets effective? In this article, we  study the extent to which minority cabinets demonstrate legislative reliability, i.e. introduce to parliament the bills they have announced in their legislative agendas. We test hypotheses drawn from two theories of minority government effectiveness: the positional agenda power theory which emphasizes the central location of the minority cabinet in the policy space; and the ideological proximity theory which stresses the importance of the ideological closeness of opposition parties to the government. In an analysis of over 1,600 bills announced by Danish and Swedish minority cabinets in 19 legislative agendas published between 1998 and 2012, we find more support, overall, for the ideological proximity than for the positional agenda power model.

A new grant from John Fell OUP Research Fund

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.

Project abstract:

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.

DPIR News & Media

New article published in WEP

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.