Playing by the Rules or Changing Them? Explaining Institutional Reforms in European Parliaments

05.11.2012 - 13:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Ulrich Sieberer
Lecturer affiliation: 
Universität Konstanz

Institutional rules are central for understanding parliamentary processes and outcomes and thus give political actors incentives to use institutional reforms to achieve their substantive goals. This talk presents first results from an ongoing project that comparatively studies and explains standing order change in European parliaments. First, I introduce a general model of institutional change building on the notion of institutions as equilibria in nested games and derive testable hypotheses on factors that affect reforms redistributing institutional power between the parliamentary majority and minority. Empirically, I show that parliamentary standing orders are changed frequently and massively. Furthermore, I present preliminary empirical support for key hypotheses of the theoretical model by showing that distributive reforms in Austria, France, Germany, and Spain are driven by changes in policy conflict between majority and minority and within the majority in line with theoretical expectations.