Hanna Bäck, Marc Debus, Jochen Müller
Who is allowed to take the floor? Individual and party-level determinants of the number of legislative speeches delivered by Swedish MPs

Political Studies Association Annual Conference, Cardiff, March 25th to March 27th, 2013

Legislative speeches are an important instrument for parties and parliamentarians to signalize their positions. However, positions that are appealing to voters in some constituencies might alienate voters elsewhere or might lead to a perception of the party as being unreliable. As recent research has shown, this creates institution-dependent incentives for parties regarding the allocation of speaking time by the party leadership. The over-representation of certain MPs is the starting point of this paper: in a first step, it is assessed which MPs are more likely to be seen on the floor. Specifically, it will be tested whether an MP’s presence on the floor depends on qualifications (e.g. committee membership), personal characteristics (e.g. gender), or on the policy area to which a debate belongs to. The expectations are tested by making use of a data set that contains information on the number and content of speeches given in the Swedish Riksdag between 2002 and 2010 and the characteristics of its members.