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Published in: Public Choice 1-2/2018

10-03-2018

Is there a selection bias in roll call votes? Evidence from the European Parliament

Authors: Simon Hix, Abdul Noury, Gerard Roland

Published in: Public Choice | Issue 1-2/2018

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Abstract

We examine the magnitude and significance of selection bias in roll call votes. Prior to 2009, all recorded (roll call) votes in the European Parliament had to be requested explicitly by European Political Groups. Since 2009, a roll call vote has been mandatory on all final legislative votes. We exploit that change in the rules and compare differences between final legislative votes, amendment votes and non-legislative votes before and after 2009, using a difference-in-differences approach with extensive controls. Using data from the Sixth (2004–2009) to Seventh (2009–2014) European Parliaments, we fail to find any large differences in voting cohesion for the main political groups. We find even less significance when we control for changes in parliamentary membership between those two periods. The results suggest that selection biases in the European Parliament associated with strategic choices are negligible.
Footnotes
1
The European People’s Party (EPP) was overrepresented as a requester of RCVs on final votes, whereas the Greens were overrepresented as requesters of RCVs on amendment votes.
 
2
The only exception of which we are aware is Hug (2009), who was able to use records from RCV and non-RCV electronic votes in Switzerland to recover individual voting behavior. He found that party cohesion was on average higher for RCVs than for unrecorded votes. That method cannot be replicated for legislatures wherein electronic data for non-RCVs are not collected, which at the moment seems to be the case for most legislatures across the world.
 
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Metadata
Title
Is there a selection bias in roll call votes? Evidence from the European Parliament
Authors
Simon Hix
Abdul Noury
Gerard Roland
Publication date
10-03-2018
Publisher
Springer US
Published in
Public Choice / Issue 1-2/2018
Print ISSN: 0048-5829
Electronic ISSN: 1573-7101
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s11127-018-0529-1

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