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Networks and Social Influence in European Legislative Politics

  • Thomas Malang, Laurence Brandenberger and Philip Leifeld

The Treaty of Lisbon strengthened the role of national parliaments in the European Union. It introduced an ‘early warning system’, granting parliamentary chambers the right to reject legislative proposals by the European Commission. Previous studies assumed independence between the decisions of parliaments to reject a legislative proposal. We apply recent advances in inferential network analysis and argue that parliamentary vetoes are better explained by conceptualizing parliaments’ veto actions as a temporal network. Network effects can be observed along the dimension of party families. Based on a new permutation approach, we find that parliaments with similar party majorities influence each other over the course of the decision period (‘social influence’), rather than basing their decisions independently on joint prior partisanship (‘selection’).

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Department of Politics & Public Administration, University of Konstanz (email:; Eawag (Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology) and Institute of Political Science, University of Bern (email:; and School of Social and Political Sciences, University of Glasgow (email:, respectively. A previous version of this article with the title ‘National Parliamentary Coordination after Lisbon: A Network Approach’ received the Best Paper of an Early Scholar Award at the 1st European Conference on Social Networks (EUSN). The authors would like to thank the selection committee for this recognition. Helpful feedback was also provided by Jenn Larson, Lena Schaffer, Katharina Holzinger, Karin Ingold, participants of the ECPR Joint Sessions Workshop ‘Analysing parliamentary behaviour in European Union affairs’ and the Editor and three anonymous referees. All errors remain our own. We thank Marilena Ast, Philipp Sauer and Sandra Wankmüller for their assistance with the data collection. Support for this research was provided by the Swiss National Science Foundation (grant 149410). PL carried out parts of this research while at the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology (Eawag), the University of Bern and the University of Konstanz. Data replication sets, supplementary tables and figures are available in Harvard Dataverse at: and online appendices at:

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