Understanding Roll Call Vote Requests and their Consequences

Simon Hug1
Département de science politique, Université de Genève

Oct 27, 2011

1st intermediary scientific report

2nd intermediary scientific report

Final scientific report

2  Scientific Information

2.1  Summary

Analyses of roll call votes have developed to form a mainstay of parliamentary research. By their development both in terms of methods used as in substantive (and geographic) areas covered, more and more researchers have become aware that in many instances roll call votes only give us a partial glimpse at parliamentary behavior. The reason for this is that in many parliaments roll call votes need to be requested or occur only on particular proposals. Based on this observation the proposed project wishes to address the following overarching research question:

Under what circumstances are roll call votes requested in national parliaments and how do these circumstances affect our inferences on parliamentary behavior based on roll call votes?

To answer this research question the project is based on three interdependent goals. The first goal is to establish a detailed inventory of the institutional rules under which roll call votes occur in all national parliaments around the world. To achieve this goal an internet-based survey will be carried out among experts of the various national parliaments following the lead example of a recent handbook.

Based on this inventory an existing theoretical model will be expanded to consider different motivations for making roll call requests, namely the disciplining of party members, the signaling of party positions and the shaming of other parties for their voting behavior. This theoretical model will allow for a more precise assessment of the relationship between observed voting behavior in parliaments through roll call votes and unobserved behavior in secret (or voice votes).

The implications of this theoretical model will be submitted to empirical tests, which forms the third goal. More specifically the empirical tests envision to study the consequences that the different rules and reasons for requesting roll call votes have on empirical analyses based on roll call votes. These empirical tests should also allow for insights how the results from roll call votes analyses have to be corrected for, given that they are based on only a (non-random) sample of all votes in most parliaments.

Detailed project description

Ideal point estimates for the Swiss lower house

  Relevant publications and working papers

  Related newspaper articles

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On 6 Oct 2009, 15:11.