Past Research Projects

Parliaments as Electoral Assemblies (Ph.D Project)

The project analyzes electoral competencies as a previously neglected facet of parliamentary power. The relevance of these competencies is derived from a principal—agent model of parliamentary democracy in which parliaments are conceptualized as central principals that delegate power to the government and other external offices. Empirically, the project maps the institutional powers of 25 European parliaments with regard to the election of the government and various external offices (heads of state, constitutional judges, central banks, audit institutions, and ombudsmen). This analysis shows that parliaments differ considerably and that electoral competencies constitute a distinct dimension of the institutional power of parliaments. Furthermore, the project analyzes 100 elections of various external officeholders in Western European parliaments and shows that these elections clearly follow patterns of partisan conflict.

Publications from the project:

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2010, Parlamente als Wahlorgane. Parlamentarische Wahlbefugnisse und ihre Nutzung in 25 Europäischen Demokratien, Baden-Baden: Nomos.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2015, Hire or Fire? The Link between Cabinet Investiture and Removal in Parliamentary Democracies, in: Bjorn Erik Rasch/Shane Martin/José Antonio Cheibub (eds.): Parliaments and Government Formation: Unpacking Investiture Rules, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 309-330.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2013, Elections in Western European Parliaments, European Journal of Political Research 52 (4), 512-535.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2012, Checks or Toothless Tigers? Powers and Incentives of External Officeholders to Constrain the Cabinet in 25 European Democracies, Government and Opposition 47 (4), 517-543.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2011, The Institutional Power of Western European Parliaments. A Multidimensional Analysis, West European Politics 34 (4), 731-754.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2009, Können ja – Wollen nein? Die Anreize externer Amtsträger zur Beschränkung der Regierung, in: Helmar Schöne/Julia von Blumenthal (eds.), Parlamentarismusforschung in Deutschland. Ergebnisse und Perspektiven 40 Jahre nach Erscheinen von Gerhard Loewenbergs Standardwerk zum Deutschen Bundestag, Baden-Baden: Nomos, 301-322.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2008, Prinzipal Parlament. Die Bedeutung europäischer Parlamente als Wahlorgane, Politische Vierteljahresschrift 49 (2), 251-282.

Party Unity and Legislative Voting

The project analyzes the causes of party unity in parliamentary democracies with a special focus on the effects of electoral incentives for dissenting behavior. In addition to roll call votes, the project uses MPs’ explanations of their voting behavior in the German Bundestag as a new data source that enables us to analyze the (usually unobservable) reasons behind individual behavior.

Publications from the project:

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2015, Using MP Statements to Explain Voting Behavior in the German Bundestag: An Individual-level Test of the Competing Principals Theory, Party Politics 21(2), 284-294.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2010, Behavioral Consequences of Mixed Electoral Systems. Deviating Voting Behavior of District and List MPs in the German Bundestag, Electoral Studies 29 (3), 484-496.

Becher, Michael/Sieberer, Ulrich, 2008, Discipline, Electoral Rules, and Defection in the Bundestag, 1983-1994, German Politics 17 (3), 293-304.

Sieberer, Ulrich, 2006, Party Unity in Parliamentary Democracies. A Comparative Analysis, Journal of Legislative Studies 12 (2), 150-178.