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EU Voting - Presentation on selected literature

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Serafin Groebner

on 4 February 2014

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Transcript of EU Voting - Presentation on selected literature

International Relations and European Integration Session 14: Voting in the EU
Dr. Sonja Grimm - Winter term 2013/2014 University of Konstanz - 04/02/2014
A presentation by Serafin Groebner
>> MAKING EUROPEAN DECISIONS <<

LEVEL I
LEVEL II
LEVEL III
VOTING IN THEORY - Theoretical foundations for approaching EU voting
VOTING IN THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT - Voting in the legislative EU arena
VOTING IN THE NATION STATES - Voting on the domestic level
CONCLUSIONS
VOTING IN THE EU - Institutions, Patterns and Convergence
ARGUMENT
VOTING IN THE EU - A complex matter
CENTRAL ARGUMENT
"A conclusion drawn from this research is that details in the complex decision structure are very important. "
- Peter Moser (1999, 12)
Theoretical approaches to European Union voting
Contributions:
In the context of policy-formation theory contribution to the debate by comparing US and European decision-making organs
Inventive theory building based on Shepsles Structure-induced Equilibrium and Shepsle’s “veto player” theory (1995)
Draws attention towards institutions and their shaping function

Shortcomings:
No empirical data
Anecdotal evidence
Negligence of many other policy formation approaches, i.e. punctuated equilibrium by Baumgartner and Jones (1995)




CRITIQUE - Moser (1999)

Findings:

Political institutions are not only important in improving the quality of the discussion, but also, by creating veto institutions.

Design of legislative procedures influences available policy choices which, once chosen, cannot be readily modified.

Implications for legislative delegation to agencies, by the existence of institutions. Principal-Agent problem can be enhanced.


Peter Moser 1999. “The Impact of Legislative Institutions on Public Policy: a Survey”. European Journal of Political Economy, 15(1): 1-33.

What are institutions to him?
“constraints on simple majority rules, and include i) rules of the political game set at the constitutional level, ii) the organizational structure of legislatures, and iii) administrative and judicial procedures.”


Institutions shape the incentives faced by political actors, by:
Restricting the type of policy comparison via agenda setting rights and other procedural rules

Influencing the distribution of information,


RESEARCH QUESTION:
How can legislative institutions contribute to policy stability?

RESEARCH DESIGN:
Literature Review building on Structure-Induced Equilibrium (SIE) theory and the interplay of forces in US Congress and EU (Parliament, Commission and Council)

MAIN ASSUMPTION:
“anything can happen under majority rule” (Moser, 1999:4) – but institutions can provide stability

Peter Moser 1999. “The Impact of Legislative Institutions on Public Policy: a Survey”. European Journal of Political Economy, 15(1): 1-33.

Peter Moser 1999. “The Impact of Legislative Institutions on Public Policy: a Survey”. European Journal of Political Economy, 15(1): 1-33.
Gail McElroy 2007. “Legislative Politics as Normal?: Voting Behaviour and Beyond in the European Parliament”. European Union Politics, 8(3): 433-448.

Simon Hix, Abdul Noury and Gerard Roland 2009. “Voting Patterns and Alliance Formation
in the European Parliament”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364(1518):
821-831.
Simon Hix, Abdul Noury and Gerard Roland 2009. “Voting Patterns and Alliance Formation
in the European Parliament”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364(1518):
821-831.
Simon Hix, Abdul Noury and Gerard Roland 2009. “Voting Patterns and Alliance Formation
in the European Parliament”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364(1518):
821-831.
Catherine de Vries and Erik R. Tillman 2011. “European Union issue voting in East and West Europe: The role of political context”. Comparative European Politics, 9(1): 1-17.
Sara B. Hobolt and Jae-Jae Spoon 2012. “Motivating the European voter: Parties, issues and campaigns in European Parliament elections”. European Journal of Political Research, 51(6): 701-727.
TAKE-AWAYS FROM TODAYS LITERATURE
TAKE-AWAYS FROM TODAYS LITERATURE
THANK YOU FOR YOUR ATTENTION
RESEARCH QUESTION:
Why the European political groups exist and why they have become so powerful?
RESEARCH DESIGN:
Time-series analysis combined with a cross-sectional analysis. Added a spatial analysis of voting (scaling method W-NOMINATE).
Gail McElroy 2007. “Legislative Politics as Normal?: Voting Behaviour and Beyond in the European Parliament”. European Union Politics, 8(3): 433-448.

Catherine de Vries and Erik R. Tillman 2011. “European Union issue voting in East and West Europe: The role of political context”. Comparative European Politics, 9(1): 1-17.
Catherine de Vries and Erik R. Tillman 2011. “European Union issue voting in East and West Europe: The role of political context”. Comparative European Politics, 9(1): 1-17.
Sara B. Hobolt and Jae-Jae Spoon 2012. “Motivating the European voter: Parties, issues and campaigns in European Parliament elections”. European Journal of Political Research, 51(6): 701-727.
Sara B. Hobolt and Jae-Jae Spoon 2012. “Motivating the European voter: Parties, issues and campaigns in European Parliament elections”. European Journal of Political Research, 51(6): 701-727.
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
I. European Parliament gained in power
II. EP-Groups are more heterogeneous
III. EP-Groups have few powers to force MEPs to vote in line with the groups

->
So, why do MEPs vote with their European political groups? (Hix et al. , 2009: 821)
FINDINGS:

I. For the individual MEP
Analysis of "Roll-Call Votes" (RCVs) shows that MEPs increasingly vote along transnational political lines rather than national lines

Results from incentives to MEPs like allocation of agenda-setting rights inside the EP (committee/
rapporteurship
position)
However, national parties ultimately control the MEPs.

II. For the national parties:
National parties vote with their European political groups 90 per cent of the time

Two reasons:
Repeated interaction:
National Parties join EP-Groups with shared ideology, long term benefits bigger than short-term vote gains.
Vote Predictability:
Vote outcomes are mostly predictable, Position rarely pivotal, only hurts long terms goals of the National Party
Conclusions:

EP-Groups = vehicles that promote policy preferences of MEPs & national political parties.

EP-Groups offer long terms benefits to MEPs . Results in policy specialization and the division of agenda-setting rights.

MEPs likely to follow voting instructions from EP-Group leaders, as they expect that instructions are the positions they would come to.

Deviation: lose trust, allocation of internal party agenda-setting rights, diminishes long term benefits
REVIEW OF “Democratic Politics in the European Parliament (Hix et al.,2007)”
"One could dwell in detail on the many merits of this fine book, but the achievements of the authors will be obvious to any reader and summarizing them thus seems redundant. Therefore it is more productive to explore in the remainder of this forum piece some of the analytical issues this book raises and the questions and challenges it poses for legislative scholars and students of the EP in particular." (McElroy 2007: 435)
ARGUMENT:
agrees with Hix et. al (2007) that
I. Institutionalized political groups in the European Parliament
II. Groups are cohesive & dominate decision-making
III. Ideology rather than territorial issues define party competition
Three critical aspects:
I. Limitation of RCVs
II. Existence of other mechanisms influencing MEPs
III. Accounting for a dynamic system
LIMITATIONS OF RCVs:
Only one third of votes in EP are by Roll-Call. Results could thus be inflated in terms of their representativeness

NOMINATE procedure does not provide uncertainty estimates - false sense of precision

In EP RCVS are used asymmetrically and disproportionately
MOVING BEYOND THE FLOOR
- unaccounted mechanisms influencing MEPs:
Committee system as a source of patronage?
How about MEPs’ career ambitions influencing their legislative behaviour?
Some national parties more privileged than others?
A DYNAMIC SYSTEM
Party family is a bad operational variable as there is no classification, no index of party families.

Dynamic nature of political groups in the EP is not accounted for, party family is static, but national parties frequently and regularly switch EP Party groups.

Nexus between party families and national parties not always clearly identifiable
Critique of McElroy (2007) and Hix (2009)
CONTRIBUTIONS:
Hix et. al extend theoretical debate to European arena, away from US-centered theory building.

Plausible theoretical foundation for analyzing EP-Group cohesion
Thoughtful analytical framework

Further developed by McElroy through constructive critique

SHORTCOMINGS
Questions arise due to RCV over-representation
Strong assumptions concerning party-families
Extensive methodological criticism exists
RESEARCH QUESTION:
Whether individual party support is influenced by preferences over European integration?
RESEARCH DESIGN:
Survey data of 19 EU member states to examine political contestation over the EU.
MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
I. European integration increasingly visible to European publics, thus increasingly
dispersed public opinion on EU issues

II. Political parties positions on European integration are increasingly public and
distinct, showing responsiveness to public opinion

III. Intra-party divisions over European integration have become more pronounced
and visible

- First, is there evidence of EU issue voting across a wide range of countries in West and East Central Europe (ECE)?
- Second, does the post-communist context affect the nature of EU issue voting in the ECE states, producing a different effect than that observed in West Europe?

FINDINGS:
There is evidence of EU
issue voting
across the 19 countries
The
strength of the EU issue
on individual electoral preferences
is stronger in ECE than in West Europe

Answer to RQ:

I. Development of new political issues is stronger facilitated in post-communist
political systems than in West European party systems

II. EU issue voting exists across a wide sample of EU citizens. EU issue voting in the
ECE states, is stronger than in West Europe.

CRITIQUE:

Contributions
:
Evidence for "issue voting" in the EU
Expands the debate to include Eastern European aspects and post-communist research.
Thorough focus on individual motivations
Attitudes towards Europe are an important factor deciding individual-level vote choice (Hobolt et al. 2012)

Shortcomings
No empirical proof of the main assumption that EU-issue salience rose
Claim of causality: high salience leading to dispersed public opinion can be questioned. Correlation maybe, but what about confounders?
Strong narrative, close to storytelling
RESEARCH QUESTION:
When and why voters alter their behavior in EP elections?
RESEARCH DESIGN:
Basic voter utility model of EP elections created.
2009 European Election Study (27 countries) applied + Media Study data from the 2009 EP.

MAIN ASSUMPTIONS:
I. Second-order election theory: In EP-elections less at stake, less important,
thus increase in "sincere" voting
II. Theoretical gap: individual-level motivations that lead to different
types of behavior - is what they want to fill.
THE MODEL:
Two primary motivations:
-
sincere and protest

Three types of EP electoral behavior:
-
Partisan, Switcher, Abstainer

Contextual, moderating variable:
-
EU Politicization
FINDINGS:

I. EU integration concerns are significant to voters in EP-elections
II. Sincere and protest motivations: Same magnitude of effect on likelihood of
changing behavior between first- and second-order elections
III. But: Politicization of European integration on national level makes EU-specific
sincere voting more prevalent, little impact on the degree of EU-specific protest
voting.

Illustrative example:
Austria's 2009 EP results (if there is time)
CRITIQUE:

Contributions:
Extend and improve traditional second-order election theory
Model provides a well-founded base for further research in an area where new ideas are needed
Shortcomings:
Generalization in terms of motivations
Assumption of causality, but what about additional confounders?
Do not account for problem of unobservability of private preferences and motivations (Kuran 1991)
EU voting happens on different institutional levels and in diverse arenas (domestic level, Council, Parliament).

Plentiful dynamic processes are constantly at work and thus also require attention

TAKEAWAY: In Europe's legislative voting is ideological and starkly formed by its surrounding institutions
Institutions have a shaping function in voting procedures and policy outcomes

Policy stability is possible, by introducing veto-institutions (Moser, 1999)

Institutions shape the behavior of MEPs in the interplay of EU legislation

MEPs vote along ideological lines, are long term benefit maximizers, but ultimately dominated by their national parties (Hix et al. 2009, McElroy 2007)
In the European context the domestic voter is an issue-voter. (DeVries 2011, Hobolt 2012)

In European elections voting follows different patterns than in national elections. (Hobolt 2012)

EU Voting exceeds the narrow boundaries of elections, but covers a vast area of diverse processes. Research on this young topic has "only" started. Many areas of improvement, chances for young scholars. (McElroy 2007)
REFERENCES

- Peter Moser 1999. “The Impact of Legislative Institutions on Public Policy: a Survey”.
European Journal of Political Economy, 15(1): 1-33.

- Gail McElroy 2007. “Legislative Politics as Normal?: Voting Behaviour and Beyond in the
European Parliament”. European Union Politics, 8(3): 433-448.

- Simon Hix, Abdul Noury and Gerard Roland 2009. “Voting Patterns and Alliance Formation
in the European Parliament”. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B, 364(1518):
821-831.

- Cesar G. P. de Leon 2012. “Does implicit voting matter? Coalitional bargaining in the EU
legislative process”. European Union Politics, 13(4): 513-534.

- Catherine de Vries and Erik R. Tillman 2011. “European Union issue voting in East and
West Europe: The role of political context”. Comparative European Politics, 9(1): 1-17.

- Sara B. Hobolt and Jae-Jae Spoon 2012. “Motivating the European voter: Parties, issues and
campaigns in European Parliament elections”. European Journal of Political Research,
51(6): 701-727.

- Kyriaki Nanou and Han Dorussen 2013. “European integration and electoral democracy:
How the European Union constrains party competition in the Member States”. European
Journal of Political Research, 52(1): 71-93.

AND REMEMBER
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