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Democratic Politics in the European Parliament
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  • 27 tables
  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.54 kg

Library of Congress

  • Dewey number: 328.4
  • Dewey version: 22
  • LC Classification: JN36 .H53 2007
  • LC Subject headings:
    • European Union
    • European Parliament
    • Legislative power--European Union countries
    • Legislators--European Union countries

Library of Congress Record


 (ISBN-13: 9780521872881)

Democratic politics in the European Parliament Cambridge University Press
978-0-521-87288-1 - DEMOCRATIC POLITICS IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - by Simon Hix, Abdul G. Noury and Gérard Roland

Democratic Politics in the European Parliament

With the European Parliament comprising politicians from many different countries, cultures, languages, national parties and institutional backgrounds, one might expect politics in the Parliament to be highly fragmented and unpredictable. By studying more than 15,000 recorded votes between 1979 and 2004 this book establishes that the opposite is in fact true: transnational parties in the European Parliament are highly cohesive and the classic ‘left-right’ dimension dominates voting behaviour. Furthermore, the cohesion of parties in the European Parliament has increased as the powers of the Parliament have increased. The authors suggest that the main reason for these developments is that like-minded members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have incentives to form stable transnational party organizations and to use these organizations to compete over European Union (EU) policies. They suggest that this is a positive development for the future of democratic accountability in the EU.

Simon Hix   is Professor of European and Comparative Politics in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science.

Abdul G. Noury   is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics and the Institute for European Studies at the Université Libre de Bruxelles.

Gérard Roland   is Professor in the Departments of Economics and Political Science at the University of California, Berkeley.

Themes in European Governance

Series Editor

Andreas Føllesdal

Editorial Board

Stefano Bartolini, Ulrich Preuss, Helen Wallace

Beate Kohler-Koch, Thomas Risse, Albert Weale

Percy Lehning, Fritz W. Scharpf, J. H. H. Weiler

Andrew Moravcsik, Philip Schlesinger

The evolving European systems of governance, in particular the European Union, challenge and transform the state, the most important locus of governance and political identity and loyalty over the past 200 years. The series Themes in European Governance aims to publish the best theoretical and analytical scholarship on the impact of European governance on the core institutions, policies and identities of nation states. It focuses upon the implications for issues such as citizenship, welfare, political decision-making, and economic, monetary and fiscal policies. An initiative of Cambridge University Press and the Programme on Advanced Research on the Europeanisation in the Nation-State (ARENA), Norway, the series includes theoretically informed studies analysing key issues at the European level and within European states. Volumes in the series will be of interest to scholars and students of Europe both within Europe and worldwide. They will be of particular relevance to those interested in the development of sovereignty and governance of European states and in the issues raised by multi-level governance and multi-national integration throughout the world.

Other books in the series:

Paulette Kurzer Markets and Moral Regulation: Cultural Change in the European Union

Christoph Knill The Europeanisation of National Administrations: Patterns of Institutional Change and Persistence

Tanja Börzel States and Regions in the European Union: Institutional Adaptation in Germany and Spain

Liesbet Hooghe The European Commission and the Integration of Europe: Images of Governance

Michael E. Smith Europe’s Foreign and Security Policy: The Institutionalization of Cooperation

Frank Schimmelfenning The EU, NATO and the Integration of Europe: Rules and Rhetoric

Gary Marks and Marco R. Steenbergen (eds.) European Integration and Political Conflict

Gallya Lahav Immigration and Politics in the New Europe: Reinventing Borders

Michael Zürn and Christian Joerges (eds.) Law and Governance in Postnational Europe: Compliance beyond the Nation-State

Gerda Falkner et al (eds.) Complying with Europe: EU Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member Status

Jonas Tallberg Leadership and Nagotiation in the European Union

Rachel A. Cichowski The European Court and Civil Society: Litigation, Mobilization and Governance

Democratic Politics in the European Parliament

Simon Hix

London School of Economics and Political Science

Abdul G. Noury

Free University of Brussels

Gérard Roland

University of California, Berkeley

Cambridge, New York, Melbourne, Madrid, Cape Town, Singapore, São Paulo

Cambridge University Press
The Edinburgh Building, Cambridge CB2 2RU, UK

Published in the United States of America by Cambridge University Press,
New York
Information on this title:

© Simon Hix, Abdul G. Noury and Gérard Roland 2007

This book is in copyright. Subject to statutory exception
and to the provisions of relevant collective licensing agreements,
no reproduction of any part may take place without
the written permission of Cambridge University Press.

First published 2007

Printed in the United Kingdom at the University Press, Cambridge

A catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication data

Hix, Simon
  Democratic politics in the European Parliament / by Simon Hix, Abdul
Noury, Gérard Roland.
p. cm.
Includes bibliographical references and index.

ISBN-13 978-0-521-87288-1 (hardback : alk. paper)
ISBN-13 978-0-521-69460-5 (pbk. : alk. paper)

  1.   European Union.   2.   European Parliament.   3.   Legislative power –
European Union countries.   4.   Legislators – European Union countries.
I. Noury, Abdul II. Roland, Géerard, 1954 – III. Title.

JN36.H53 2007


ISBN-13 978-0-521-87288-1 hardback
ISBN-13 978-0-521-69460-5 paperback

Cambridge University Press has no responsibility for the persistence or accuracy of URLs for external or third-party Internet websites referred to in this book, and does not guarantee that any content on such websites is, or will remain, accurate or appropriate.

List of Contents

List of figures page xi
List of tables xii
List of boxes xiv
Acknowledgements xv
Introduction 1
Summary of the argument and the main findings 3
Outline of the book 6
Lessons for political science and European politics 8
Chapter 1   Development of the European Parliament 12
1.1 Powers of the European Parliament 12
1.1.1 Power to control the executive: a hybrid model 13
1.1.2 Power to make legislation: from a lobbyist to a co-legislator 18
1.2 Political parties in the European Parliament: a ‘two-plus-several’ party system 21
1.3 The electoral disconnection 26
1.4 The dataset: roll-call votes in the European Parliament 29
1.5 Conclusion 31
Chapter 2   Democracy, transaction costs and political parties 32
2.1 Citizen-delegate democracy 33
2.2 Party-based democracy 37
2.2.1 Parties in legislative politics and the making of public policy 39
2.2.2 Parties and electoral politics 46
2.3 Parliaments without strong parties: a history of failure 49
2.4 Implications for the European Parliament 50
2.5 Conclusion 53
Chapter 3   Ideological not territorial politics 54
3.1 Political conflict, indivisibilities, externalities and redistribution 55
3.2 Solving political conflicts 57
3.3 The cleavage theory of democratic politics 63
3.4 Implications for the European Parliament 66
3.5 Conclusion 68
Appendix: Decentralised governance to territorial entities and sectors 69
Chapter 4   Participation 72
4.1 Participation in the European Parliament: The costs and benefits of voting 74
4.2 Variations in participation rates across time, political group and country 77
4.3 Explaining the patterns 79
4.4 Conclusion: politics determines participation 85
Chapter 5   Trends in party cohesion 87
5.1 Theories of party cohesion 88
5.2 Measuring cohesion in the European Parliament 91
5.3 Main trends: growing party voting and declining national voting 93
5.4 Determinants of party cohesion in the European Parliament 95
5.4.1 Variables 95
5.4.2 Results 99
5.5 Conclusion: Growing policy-making power leads to growing party cohesion 104
Chapter 6   Agenda-setting and cohesion 105
6.1 Agenda-setting and political parties 108
6.1.1 The agenda cartel theory of parties 108
6.1.2 Agenda-setting in the European Parliament: external and internal ‘cartels’ 111
6.1.3 Propositions about agenda-setting and party cohesion in the European Parliament 115
6.2 Descriptive evidence of agenda-setting and policy influence 118
6.3 Statistical analysis 121
6.3.1 Variables 122
6.3.2 Results 123
6.4 Conclusion: agenda control alone cannot explain party discipline 130
Chapter 7   Who controls the MEPs? 132
7.1 MEPs: agents with two principals 133
7.2 Voting with and against the European and national parties 136
7.3 Analysis of MEP voting defection in the Fifth Parliament 139
7.3.1 Variables 139
7.3.2 Results 142
7.4 Relative importance of European and national parties in all five parliaments 143
7.5 Conclusion: European parties from national party actions 145
Chapter 8   Competition and coalition formation 147
8.1 Theories of party competition and coalition formation 148
8.2 Patterns of coalitions in the European Parliament 150
8.3 Determinants of coalition formation 152
8.3.1 Variables 152
8.3.2 Results 157
8.4 Conclusion: an increasingly competitive party system 158
Chapter 9   Dimensions of politics 161
9.1 Dimensions of conflict in EU politics 162
9.2 Estimating MEPs’ ideal points from roll-call votes 165
9.3 Spatial maps of the five elected European Parliaments 168
9.4 Interpretation of the meaning of the dimensions 172
9.4.1 Variables 172
9.4.2 Results 175
9.5 Conclusion: Normal politics in a territorially divided polity 180
Chapter 10   Investiture and censure of the Santer Commission 182
10.1 Formation and termination of governments and the case of the EU 183
10.2 The Santer Commission: from nomination to resignation 186
10.3 Analysis: MEP behaviour in the investiture and censure of the Commission 192
10.3.1 Variables 192
10.3.2 Results 195
10.4 Conclusion: Government–opposition politics arrives in the European Parliament 198
Chapter 11   The Takeover Directive 200
11.1 A short history of the Takeover Directive 201
11.2 Explaining MEP voting on the Takeover Directive: nationality or party? 205
11.3 Analysis of MEP behaviour on the Takeover Directive 208
11.3.1 Variables 208
11.3.2 Results 211
11.4 Conclusion: parties and ideology matter, even when national interests interfere 214
Conclusion 216
Bibliography 221
Index 235

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