Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus
Personalized versus partisan representation in the speeches of migrant MPs in the German Bundestag

27. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Vereinigung für Politikwissenschaft, Frankfurt am Main, September 25th to September 28th, 2018

Given the polarized debates in many modern democracies over migration and integration, how MPs with a migration background act in parliament and if they fulfil specific roles has important implications for the stability of democratic societies. This paper asks if MPs who have a migration background adopt a specific behavior when giving legislative speeches. Drawing on role congruity theory, we hypothesize that MPs with a migrant background will deliver more speeches in debates dealing with citizen and minority rights. Considering the re-election incentives of MPs, and the degree of control that the party leadership has over an MP, we hypothesize that migrant MPs who are elected on the party list – as opposed to directly elected MPs – are more likely to speak in debates on citizen and minority rights. We focus on debates in the German Bundestag, which allows us to distinguish between MPs who are elected directly in a district or from the party list. The findings indicate that MPs with a migrant background deliver more speeches in debates on civil and minority rights. Furthermore, MPs with a migrant background that were elected via the party list and, thus, are more dependent of the party leadership, speak more often in civil and minority rights debates.