Parliamentary Decisions
Electoral considerations, party pressure and strategic calculations1

Simon Hug2 and Tobias Schulz3 and Stefanie Bailer
CIS and IPZ, Universität Zürich

First version: September 2005, this version: Apr 20, 2008

2  Scientific Information

2.1  Summary

Despite the central role of the Swiss parliament and its members in political decision-making, we know only little about what determines the latter's decisions when voting on bills. Drawing on both theoretical and empirical work carried out in other contexts, this study wishes to answer the following questions:

To answer these research questions we rely on a series of data sources that yield the necessary information to test our theoreticall derived hypotheses. First, to assess the voting behavior of MPs we rely on a uniquely suited dataset of all votes having occurred in the Swiss lower house. This dataset allows us to assess much more precisely the role party pressure and electoral concerns play in the MPs' behavior. Second, using an internet-based survey, we collect information on the MPs' political preferences to relate them systematically to voting decisions in parliament. We also assess the way in which MPs deal with complex agenda-structurres as they appear in parliament in general and the Swiss lower house in particular. The survey will also yield information on the risk-attitudes of the MPs. Finally, information from existing large surveys and statistical information on cantons and regions will yield information on the preferences of the electoral districts of particular MPs. Comnbined these three data sources will allow for an innovative investigation of the behavior of MPs in the Swiss lower house.


Working Papers

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On 20 Apr 2008, 17:17.