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Über dieses Buch

In analysing speeches made by legislators, this book provides theoretical and empirical answers to questions such as: Why do some Members of Parliament (MPs) take the parliamentary floor and speak more than others, and why do some MPs deviate more than others from the ideological position of their party? The authors evaluate their hypotheses on legislative speechmaking by considering parliamentary debates in seven European democracies: Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Norway and Sweden. Assuming that MPs are concerned with policy-making, career advancement, and re-election, the book discusses various incentives to taking the floor, and elaborates on the role of gender and psychological incentives in speechmaking. The authors test our expectations on a novel dataset that covers information on the number of speeches held by MPs and on the ideological positions MPs adopted when delivering a speech.

Inhaltsverzeichnis

Frontmatter

1. Introduction

Abstract
The focus of this book is legislative debate or speechmaking or, simply put, ‘talk’ within legislatures: more specifically, in parliaments in parliamentary systems. We here take as our starting point the ‘parliamentary chain of delegation’, which suggests that power relationships in a parliamentary democracy can be described as a chain, where citizens in a first step delegate power to representatives in a legislature, who in turn delegate power to a cabinet and a prime minister (PM), who delegates power to line ministers (see, e.g., Strøm 2000). This description of a chain makes clear that the legislature and its representatives play an important role in parliamentary democracies, linking citizens to the cabinet, and overseeing and to some extent controlling the cabinet. Legislatures, of course, also play an important role in the policy-making process, being the ultimate ‘law-making’ body (see, e.g., Martin, Saalfeld and Strøm 2014; Kreppel 2011).
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

2. Theoretical Expectations about Speechmaking

Abstract
When presenting a theoretical argument of the choices of individual actors, we should first specify their potential goals. When aiming to explain parliamentary speechmaking, we should thus specify the likely incentives of MPs and party leaders. We here follow a classical approach taken in the previous literature, assuming that MPs ‘are strategic actors concerned with policy-making, career advancement, and re-election’ (Kam 2009, p. 17). Or, as described in the literature on political parties, political actors are assumed to be policy-, office- and vote-seeking (see, e.g., Müller and Strøm 1999).
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

3. How to Analyse Speeches and Legislative Debates

Abstract
This chapter deals with methodological issues and comprises three main parts. The first describes the research design and case selection, illustrates the context of legislative debates in the seven countries analysed here and describes some of the differences and similarities across the cases. The second discusses whether an analysis of legislative speeches can give us information on ‘unity’ or ‘cohesion’ within parties, and whether they tell us something about individual MPs’ policy positions; it also describes some of the advantages and problems of analysing speeches for this purpose. The third part explains the specific computerised content analysis technique we use, Wordscores, and how it is applied here in the empirical analyses presented in Chapter 5.
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

4. Who Speaks in European Parliaments?

Abstract
This chapter, and the one following it, contain the main comparative empirical analyses of the book, beginning with the first research question, which focuses on floor participation in European parliaments. Since the empirical analyses are contrasting, comparing across parties, governments and institutional contexts, this of course also leads us to address the question, ‘Are there comparative patterns across institutional and party contexts in the features that determine speechmaking in legislatures?’
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

5. Who Speaks against the Party?

Abstract
We now turn our attention to the determinants influencing the degree of intra-party cohesion, and empirically analyse what regulates whether an MP deviates from the party line when making parliamentary speeches. Hence, the overarching question of this chapter is ‘Which MPs, and under what circumstances, deviate from the party line when making speeches?’, or, to put it another way, ‘Who speaks against the party?’
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

6. Conclusions about Legislative Speechmaking

Abstract
This concluding chapter discusses some of the main findings of our study of legislative debates across seven European parliaments. For example, we have stressed the importance of taking gender into account when analysing these findings, and we here discuss the conclusions that can be drawn from the comparative patterns found when analysing the role of gender in floor participation across Europe.
Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus

Backmatter

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