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The Conditional Electoral Connection in the European Parliament

Abbarno, Aaron J. (2009) The Conditional Electoral Connection in the European Parliament. In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)

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    This paper introduces a model of the electoral connection in the European Parliament. Emphasizing the problem of common agency – wherein agents are beholden to multiple principals who cannot coordinate – it assumes that national parties, European party groups, and voters are “latent principals” that differentially constrain members of the European Parliament (MEPs). The model proposes that the degree to which each of these principals constrain MEPs depends upon signals that MEPs receive from the national political arena about their electoral vulnerability. Re-election seeking MEPs will in turn cultivate closer connections with the principal whose support is most important for reducing electoral vulnerability. Drawing on the second-order election model, signals about MEP vulnerability are measured as a national party‟s success in the most recent national election, given the party‟s average size, governing status, and time remaining until the European election. The model predicts three broad outcomes. First, MEPs from large or governing parties will generally be more vulnerable as their party label suffers in European elections. Expecting losses, they should cultivate closer connections to their constituents by emphasizing personal record rather than party affiliation. Second, MEPs from small or opposition parties will generally be less vulnerable as their party label is more successful in European elections. Expecting gains, these MEPs will seek to appeal to their party leaders in order to secure the safest (often only the top) place on the electoral list. Finally, the model predicts that systemic-level attributes such as voters‟ right to re-order the ballot should contribute to variation in the first two outcomes. The model‟s propositions are tested empirically with qualitative and quantitative evidence from 30 interviews with MEPs in 2008 and an original dataset of MEPs‟ non-roll-call position taking in plenary sessions during the 6th European Parliament term.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > EU institutions & developments > European Parliament
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > European elections/voting behavior
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > political parties
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2009 (11th), April 23-25, 2009
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 20 Feb 2012 18:56
    Number of Pages: 39
    Last Modified: 12 May 2012 16:34

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