The Evolution of Party Competition in the European Union

Research question/goal: 

Although public debates and scholarly literature attribute an extraordinary role to the European Parliament in providing legitimacy for European integration, there are few systematic studies on the question whether party competition in the European Parliament promotes “conflictive” or “bipolar” pluralism and how it developed over time and across policy areas. The main reasons for this deficit are conceptual (i.e. unitary actor assumption, one-shot perspective) and empirical limitations (i.e. time and stage-selection bias) of existing research. This project addresses these shortcomings by analysing the three stages of pluralist party competition in the European Parliament (i.e. programmatic statements, speeches and votes), beginning with the initial days of the European Communities up to the most recent developments of the European Union (EU). Drawing on recent advances in textual analysis, it explores the substantive dimensions of party competition (simple vs. complex, moderate vs. extreme, national vs. European) over time and across policy areas, their dynamics (one/multiple rounds, one/two/three stages), and their effects on public support via a cross-country (mixed) panel (experimental) survey.

Current stage: 

After collecting and digitising all parliamentary debates for the period from 1973 to 1999 from the archives of the European Parliament, we have successfully extracted a dataset of machine-readable files for the majority of the corpus, from which we have gained first explorative insights. We are currently working on building a database architecture that will allow for efficient data management and access.

Fact sheet

2019 to 2022
Data Sources: 
Quantitative, databases, texts
Geographic Space: