Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Asking territories: the constituency orientation of Italian and French members of the European Parliament

  • Fabio Sozzi (a1)

In this article, we explore how electoral systems influence attitudes and behavior of elected representatives. Focusing on constituency representation, we consider how variation in electoral systems may shape forms of political representation. An analysis of written parliamentary questions (PQs) is an important instrument to look at the role of parliamentarians even where, as in the European Parliament, political parties enforce discipline in roll-call voting. This kind of investigation offers the opportunity to partially resolve empirical and theoretical problems related to other methods of research. Unlike voting and speeches, PQs face fewer constrains from party leaders. This article analyses the constituency focus of members of European Parliament from France and Italy. These countries differ with regard to two main dimensions of electoral systems: ballot structure and district magnitude. The study is conducted through a content analysis of 5343 written PQs during the sixth term (2004–09). The results suggest that, despite the lack of strong electoral connection, electoral institutions shape the legislative behavior of the Italian and French parliamentarians providing incentives to cultivate personal reputation and constituency-orientation.

Corresponding author
Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

S. Bailer (2011), ‘People’s voice or information pool? The role of, and reasons for, parliamentary questions in the Swiss parliament’, The Journal of Legislative Studies 17(3): 302314.

J. Carey and M. Shugart (1995), ‘Incentives to cultivate a personal vote: a rank ordering of electoral formulas’, Electoral Studies 14(4): 417439.

D. Farrell and R. Scully (2010), ‘The European Parliament: one parliament, several modes of political representation on the ground?’, Journal of European Public Policy 17(1): 3654.

S. Hix , A. Noury and G. Roland (2007), Democratic Politics in the European Parliament, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

S. Martin (2011), ‘Using parliamentary questions to measure constituency focus: an application to the Irish case’, Political Studies 59(2): 472488.

M. McCubbins and T. Schwartz (1984), ‘Congressional oversight overlooked: police patrols versus fire alarms’, American Journal of Political Science 28: 165179.

B.E. Rasch (2011), ‘Behavioural consequences of restrictions on plenary access: parliamentary questions in the Norwegian storting’, The Journal of Legislative Studies 17(3): 382393.

R. Rose and G. Borz (2013), ‘Aggregation and representation in European Parliament party groups’, West European Politics 36(3): 474497.

F. Russo (2011), ‘The constituency as a focus of representation: studying the Italian case through the analysis of parliamentary questions’, The Journal of Legislative Studies 17(3): 290301.

M. Shugart (2001), ‘Electoral ‘efficiency’ and the move to mixed-member systems’, Electoral Studies 20(2): 173193.

Recommend this journal

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

Italian Political Science Review / Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica
  • ISSN: 0048-8402
  • EISSN: 2057-4908
  • URL: /core/journals/italian-political-science-review-rivista-italiana-di-scienza-politica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Sozzi Dataset



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 6
Total number of PDF views: 39 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 210 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 20th September 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.