Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Explaining Policy Position Choice of Europarties: The Effect of Legislative Resources

  • Heike Klüver and Toni Rodon
Abstract

While Europarties have received increasing attention in recent years, little is known about how they arrive at common policy positions, given their strong internal ideological heterogeneity. In order to explain position formation within Europarties, this article argues that national parties compete with each other in an attempt to upload their own policy positions to their Europarty. The article hypothesizes that their ability to succeed in these attempts depends on their legislative resources. The argument is tested by analysing position formation within the four major Europarties for all European Parliament elections between 1979 and 2004. The empirical results confirm that position choice is skewed towards parties with a large seat share, which has important implications for political representation in Europe.

Copyright
Footnotes
Hide All
*

University of Konstanz (email: heike.kluever@uni-konstanz.de) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (email: toni.rodon@upf.edu), respectively. The authors are listed in alphabetical order. Both authors have contributed equally to the article. They thank Hanna Bäck, Thomas Däubler, Lisa Dellmuth, Fabio Franchino, Nathalie Giger, Javier Arregui, Iñaki Sagarzazu, Jae-Jae Spoon and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch as well as the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. Replication data are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123412000543.

Footnotes
References
Hide All

1 Hix Simon, ‘The Transnational Party Federations’, in John Gaffney, ed., Political Parties and the European Union (London: Routledge, 1996), pp. 308–31

Hix Simon and Lord Christopher, Political Parties in the European Union (Houndmills: Macmillan, 1997)

Gabel Matt and Hix Simon, ‘Defining the EU Political Space: An Empirical Study of the European Elections Manifestos, 1979–1999’, Comparative Political Studies, 35 (2002), 934–64

Johansson Karl Magnus and Raunio Tapio, ‘Regulating Europarties: Cross-party Coalitions Capitalizing on Incomplete Contracts’, Comparative Political Studies, 11 (2005), 515–34

2 Gabel and Hix, ‘Defining the EU Political Space: An Empirical Study of the European Elections Manifestos, 1979–1999’, p. 936.

3 Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, p. 63

4 Simon Hix and Bjorn Høyland, The Political System of the European Union, 3rd edn (Houndmills: Palgrave Macmillan, 2011), p. 141

5 McElroy Gail, ‘Committees and Party Cohesion in the European Parliament’, Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 37 (2008), 357–74

6 McElroy Gail and Benoit Kenneth, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’, British Journal of Political Science, 40 (2010), 377–98

7 McElroy and Benoit, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’.

8 Hix, ‘Political Parties and the European Union’, p. 316.

9 Hix, ‘Political Parties and the European Union’, pp. 316–17.

10 Külahci Erol, ‘Europarties: Agenda-Setter or Agenda-Follower? Social Democracy and the Disincentives for Tax Harmonization’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 48 (2010), 1283–306

11 Attiná Fulvio, ‘The Voting Behaviour of the European Parliament Members and the Problem of the Europarties’, European Journal of Political Research, 18 (1990), 557–79

Kreppel Amie and Tsebelis George, ‘Coalition Formation in the European Parliament’, Comparative Political Studies, 32 (1999), 933–66

Hix Simon, ‘Legislative Behaviour and Party Competition in the European Parliament: An Application of Nominate to the EU’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 39 (2001), 663–88

Hix Simon, ‘Parliamentary Behavior with Two Principals: Preferences, Parties, and Voting in the European Parliament’, American Journal of Political Science, 46 (2002), 688–98

Hix Simon and Noury Abdul, ‘After Enlargement: Voting Patterns in the Sixth European Parliament’, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 34 (2009), 159–74

12 Gail McElroy and Kenneth Benoit, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’.

13 Gabel Matt and Hix Simon, ‘Defining the EU Political Space’; Jacques Thomassen, Abdul Noury and Erik Voeten, ‘Political Competition in the European Parliament: Evidence from Roll Call and Survey Analyses’, in Gary Marks and Marco R. Steenbergen, eds, European Integration and Political Conflict (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004)

Hix, Noury and Roland, ‘Power to the Parties’; Gail McElroy and Kenneth Benoit, ‘Party Groups and Policy Positions in the European Parliament’, Party Politics, 13 (2007), 5–28

Veen Tim, ‘Positions and Salience in European Union Politics: Estimation and Validation of a New Dataset’, European Union Politics, 12 (2011), 267–88

McElroy Gail and Benoit Kenneth, ‘Policy Positioning in the European Parliament’, European Union Politics, 13 (2012), 150–67

14 See ‘Research design’ section for further information about how these policy position estimates have been obtained.

15 Sigalas Emmanuel, Mokre Monika, Pollak JohannesSlominski Peter and Bátora Jozef, ‘Democracy Models and Parties at the EU Level: Empirical Evidence from the Adoption of the 2009 European Election Manifestos’, RECON Online Working Paper, 13 (2010), 1–47

16 Hix, ‘Parliamentary Behavior with Two Principals’; Simon Hix, ‘Electoral Institutions and Legislative Behavior: Explaining Voting Defection in the European Parliament’, World Politics, 56 (2004), 194–223

17 Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, p. 64.

18 Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, p. 64.

19 Gabel and Hix, ‘Defining the EU Political Space’, p. 937.

20 Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, pp. 65–6.

21 McElroy and Benoit, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’, pp. 379–80

Däubler Thomas, ‘The Preparation and Use of Election Manifestos: Learning from the Irish Case’ (Trinity College Dublin Working Paper, 2011)

22 Swaan Abram De, Coalition Theories and Cabinet Formation (Amsterdam: Elsevier, 1973)

23 Strøm Kaare and Müller Wolfgang C., ‘Political Parties and Hard Choices’, in Wolfgang C. Müller and Kaare Strøm, eds, Policy, Office or Votes? How Political Parties in Western Europe Make Hard Decisions (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), pp. 1–35

24 Reif Karlheinz and Schmitt Hermann, ‘Nine Second-order National Elections – A Conceptual Framework for the Analysis of European Election Results’, European Journal of Political Research, 8 (1980), 3–44

Eijk Cees van der and Franklin Mark N., Choosing Europe? The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996)

25 McElroy and Benoit, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’.

26 McElroy, ‘Committees and Party Cohesion in the European Parliament’.

27 McElroy and Benoit, ‘Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament’, p. 380.

28 Putnam Robert D., ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games’, International Organization, 42 (1988), 427–60

Moravcsik Andrew, ‘Preferences and Power in the European Community: A Liberal Intergovernmentalist Approach’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 31 (1993), 473–524

29 Gabel and Hix, ‘Defining the EU Political Space’, p. 937.

30 Gabel and Hix, ‘Defining the EU Political Space’, p. 937.

31 Gamson William A., ‘A Theory of Coalition Formation’, American Sociological Review, 26 (1961), 373–82

Browne Eric C. and Franklin Mark N., ‘Aspects of Coalition Payoffs in European Parliamentary Democracies’, American Political Science Review, 67 (1973), 453–69

Warwick Paul V. and Druckman James N., ‘Portfolio Salience and the Proportionality of Payoffs in Coalition Governments’, British Journal of Political Science, 31 (2001), 627–49

Warwick Paul V. and Druckman James N., ‘The Portfolio Allocation Paradox: An Investigation into the Nature of a Very Strong but Puzzling Relationship’, European Journal of Political Research, 45 (2006), 635–65

Bäck HannaMeier Henk Erik and Persson Thomas, ‘Party Size and Portfolio Payoffs: The Proportional Allocation of Ministerial Posts in Coalition Governments’, Journal of Legislative Studies, 15 (2009), 10–34

32 Gamson, ‘A Theory of Coalition Formation’, p. 376.

33 Baron David P. and Ferejohn John A., ‘Bargaining in Legislatures’, American Political Science Review, 83 (1989), 1181–206

Diermeier Daniel, ‘Coalition Government’, in Barry R. Weingast and Donald A. Wittman, eds, The Oxford Handbook of Political Economy (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

Black Duncan, The Theory of Committees and Elections (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1958)

Laver Michael and Shepsle Kenneth A., Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies (Oxford: Cambridge University Press, 1996)

Leech Dennis, ‘An Empirical Comparison of the Performance of Classical Power Indices’, Political Studies, 50 (2002), 1–22

Fréchette Guillaume R.Kagel John H. and Morelli Massimo, ‘Gamson's Law versus Non-cooperative Bargaining Theory’, Games and Economic Behavior, 51 (2005), 365–90

34 Browne and Franklin, ‘Aspects of Coalition Payoffs in European Parliamentary Democracies’, p. 453.

35 Budge Ian and Laver Michael, ‘The Policy Basis of Government Coalitions: A Comparative Investigation’, British Journal of Political Science, 23 (1993), 499–519

Warwick Paul V., ‘Coalition Policy in Parliamentary Democracies’, Comparative Political Studies, 34 (2001), 1212–236

Bäck HannaDebus Marc and Dumont Patrick, ‘Who Gets What in Coalition Governments? Predictors of Portfolio Allocation in Parliamentary Democracies’, European Journal of Political Research, 50 (2011), 441–78

36 Gamson, ‘A Theory of Coalition Formation’, pp. 374–76; Browne and Franklin, ‘Aspects of Coalition Payoffs in European Parliamentary Democracies’, p. 457; Warwick and Druckman, ‘The Portfolio Allocation Paradox’, pp. 653–54.

37 Warwick and Druckman, ‘The Portfolio Allocation Paradox’, p. 636.

38 Fiona Hayes-Renshaw and Helen Wallace, The Council of Ministers, 2nd edn (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006)

Tallberg Jonas, ‘Bargaining Power in the European Council’, Journal of Common Market Studies, 46 (2008), 685–708

39 It has to be noted that this formula does not constitute the basis for the calculation of the policy positions of Europarties; it simply summarizes our theoretical model, according to which the policy position of a Europarty PEUR can be explained by the policy preferences of its J national member parties PNATj weighted by their legislative resources αj. The policy positions of Europarties are measured independently on the basis of a content analysis of their election manifestos, as outlined in detail in the next section.

40 Wüst Andreas M. and Volkens Andrea, ‘Euromanifesto Coding Instructions’, Mannheimer Zentrum für europäische Sozialforschung Working Paper, 64 (2003)

Daniela Braun, Maike Salzwedel, Christian Stumpf and Andreas M. Wüst, Euromanifesto Documentation (Mannheim Centre for European Social Research, 2004)

41 Laver Michael and Garry John, ‘Estimating Policy Positions from Political Texts’, American Journal of Political Science, 44 (2000), 619–34

Budge Ian, Klingemann Hans-Dieter, Volkens AndreaBara Judith and Tanenbaum Eric, Mapping Policy Preferences: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments 1945–1998 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001)

Laver MichaelBenoit Kenneth and Garry John, ‘Extracting Policy Positions from Political Texts Using Word as Data’, American Political Science Review, 97 (2003), 311–31

Klingemann Hans-Dieter, Volkens Andrea, Bara JudithBudge Ian and McDonald Michael, Mapping Policy Preferences II: Estimates for Parties, Electors, and Governments in Eastern Europe, European Union and OECD 1990–2003 (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006)

42 Budge et al., Mapping Policy Preferences; Klingemann et al., Mapping Policy Preferences II.

43 Wüst and Volkens, Euromanifesto Coding Instructions, p. 4.

44 We hereby draw on the RILE scale developed by Andreas Wüst and the pro-anti European integration dimension computed by the Euromanifesto project. Braun et al., Euromanifesto Documentation.

45 Benoit Kenneth and Laver Michael, ‘Benchmarks for Text Analysis: A Reply to Budge and Pennings’, Electoral Studies, 26 (2007), 130–35

Steembergen Marco R. and Marks Gary, ‘Evaluating Expert Judgements’, European Journal of Political Research, 46 (2007), 347–66

Hooghe Liesbet, Bakker Ryan, Brigevich Anna, Vries Catherine de, Edwards Erica, Marks GaryRovny Jan and Steenbergen Marco, ‘Reliability and Validity of Measuring Party Positions: The Chapel Hill Expert Surveys of 2002 and 2006’, European Journal of Political Research, 49 (2010), 684–703

46 Benoit Kenneth and Laver Michael, ‘Estimating Party Policy Positions: Comparing Expert Surveys and Hand Coded Content Analysis’, Electoral Studies, 26 (2007), 90–107

Marks Gary, Hooghe LiesbetSteenbergen Marco R. and Bakker Ryan, ‘Crossvalidating Data on Party Positioning on European Integration’, Electoral Studies, 26 (2007), 23–38

47 Steenbergen and Marks, ‘Evaluating Expert Judgements’; Hooghe et al., ‘Reliability and Validity of Measuring Party Positions’. We thank the anonymous reviewer for this suggestion.

48 Hix, ‘The Transnational Party Federations’; Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union, pp. 29–39

49 Tsebelis George and Garrett Geoffrey, ‘Legislative Politics in the European Union’, European Union Politics, 1 (2000), 9–36

50 Hix and Lord, Political Parties in the European Union; McElroy and Benoit, ‘Party Groups and Policy Positions in the European Parliament’.

51 Warntjen AndreasHix Simon and Crombez Christophe, ‘The Party Political Make-up of EU Legislative Bodies’, Journal of European Public Policy, 15 (2008), 1243–53

52 Oppenhuis EricEijk Cees van der and Franklin Mark, ‘The Party Context: Outcomes’, in Cees van der Eijk and Mark Franklin, eds, Choosing Europe? The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1996)

Hix Simon and Marsh Michael, ‘Punishment or Protest? Understanding European Parliament Elections’, Journal of Politics, 69 (2007), 495–510

53 Ezrow Lawrence, Vries Catherine DeSteenbergen Marco and Edwards Erica, ‘Mean Voter Representation and Partisan Constituency Representation: Do Parties Respond to the Mean Voter Position or to their Supporters?’, Party Politics, 17 (2011), 275–301

54 In 1979 and 1984 a set of questions was added to the regular Eurobarometer that was conducted in the aftermath of the EP elections. These questions were later included in the European Election Studies. The EES data is publicly available at the EES website (www.ees-homepage.net/) and the Eurobarometer data can be accessed on the GESIS website (www.zacat.gesis.org).

55 More precisely, the question is worded as follows: ‘Some say European unification should be pushed further. Others say it has already gone too far. What is your opinion? Please indicate your views using a 10-point-scale. On this scale, 1 means unification ‘has already gone too far’ and 10 means it ‘should be pushed further’. What number on this scale best describes your position?’.

56 One could argue that party proximity could also be a good measure to identify the potential electorate. However, the same citizen can be close to different parties, so it is therefore not clear how multiple party identifications affect vote choice. At the same time, the level of response is lower, thus decreasing the number of respondents, especially for small parties.

57 Enelow James M. and Hinich Melvin, The Spatial Theory of Voting (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984)

58 Data for the European elections stems from the EP (www.europarl.europa.eu). The national turnout for each country and year is gathered from the International IDEA website (www.idea.int/vt/).

59 Van der Eijk and Franklin, Choosing Europe? The European Electorate and National Politics in the Face of Union.

60 Hix and Marsh, ‘Punishment or Protest?’.

61 Zorn Christopher, ‘Comparing GEE and Robust Standard Errors for Conditionally Dependent Data’, Political Research Quarterly, 59 (2006), 329–41

62 Beck Nathaniel and Katz Jonathan N., ‘What to Do (and Not to Do) with Time-Series Cross-Section Data’, American Political Science Review, 89 (1995), 634–47

Beck Nathaniel and Katz Jonathan N., ‘Nuisance vs. Substance: Specifying and Estimating Time-Series-Cross-Section Models’, Political Analysis, 6 (1996), 1–36

Beck Nathaniel, ‘Time-series-cross-section data: What Have We Learned in the Past Few Years?’, Annual Review of Political Science, 4 (2001), 271–93

63 Plümper ThomasTröger Vera E. and Manow Philip, ‘Panel Data Analysis in Comparative Politics: Linking Method to Theory’, European Journal of Political Research, 44 (2005), 327–54

64 Maas Cora J. M. and Hox Joop J., ‘Robustness Issues in Multilevel Regression Analysis’, Statistica Neerlandica, 58 (2004), 127–37

Long J. Scott and Freese Jeremy, Regression Models for Categorical Dependent Variables using STATA (College Station: Stata Press, 2003)

65 King GaryTomz Michael and Wittenberg Jason, ‘Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation’, American Journal of Political Science, 44 (2000), 341–55

66 Potentially, it is also possible that there is a reciprocal relationship between policy positions of Europarties and those of national parties. In addition to the suggested bottom-up relationship in which national parties influence policy position choice of Europarties, one could also advocate a top-down relationship in which Europarties could shape position formation of their national party members. We therefore conducted a Granger causality test in order to shed light on the direction of the relationship. This test indicated that the Europarties’ policy positions do not ‘Granger-cause’ the national parties’ policy positions (F = 0.104, Prob > F = 0.747). Conversely, national parties’ policy positions do ‘Granger-cause’ Europarties’ policy positions (F = 17.26, Prob > F = 0.000).

67 To further test the robustness of the results, we also estimated OLS regression models with fixed effects for elections and Europarties to control for election-specific and Europarty-specifc explanatory factors. These additional model specifications similarly confirmed our findings. In addition, we also tested whether preference formation in the run-up to the 2004 EP election followed a different pattern due to the Eastern enlargement by including a fixed effect for the 2004 election. The analysis indicated that there is no systematic difference between the 2004 election and previous elections with regard to policy position choice within Europarties.

68 Rasmussen Anne, ‘Party Soldiers in a Non-partisan Community? Party linkage in the European Parliament’, Journal of European Public Policy, 15 (2008), 1164–83

69 Tallberg Jonas, ‘The Agenda-Shaping Powers of the EU Council Presidency’, Journal of European Public Policy, 10 (2003), 1–19

70 Hayes-Renshaw and Wallace, The Council of Ministers, p. 252.

* University of Konstanz (email: ) and Universitat Pompeu Fabra (email: ), respectively. The authors are listed in alphabetical order. Both authors have contributed equally to the article. They thank Hanna Bäck, Thomas Däubler, Lisa Dellmuth, Fabio Franchino, Nathalie Giger, Javier Arregui, Iñaki Sagarzazu, Jae-Jae Spoon and Kristian Skrede Gleditsch as well as the three anonymous reviewers for their valuable comments and suggestions. Replication data are available at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123412000543.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Kluver Supplementary Material
Appendix

 Unknown (30 KB)
30 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 80 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 351 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd February 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.