Lena Maria Huber, Anita Bodlos, Elisabeth Graf, Thomas M. Meyer
Disseminating legislative debates: How legislators communicate the parliamentary agenda

Party Politics, 2022: 28, issue 2, pp. 365-376
ISSN: 1354-0688 (print), 1460-3683 (online)

While a rich literature addresses legislative agenda-setting in multiparty democracies, relatively little is known how members of parliament disseminate the legislative agenda beyond the parliamentary floor. Drawing on content analyses of 110 legislative debates and 5,847 press releases from Austrian MPs (2013–2017), we test whether legislators are more likely to send press releases on issues that are salient to their party (party agenda-setting) and to other parties in the party system (systemic salience). MPs should also communicate more on issues that fall within their area of expertise (issue specialization) and when they have given a speech on that issue during the legislative debate (intra-party delegation). While we find empirical support for all these expectations, communication of the legislative agenda largely rests on each parties’ issue specialists and their speakers in plenary debates. Importantly, there is no significant discrepancy overall between the actual parliamentary issue agenda and the agenda communicated by party MPs.