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Koß, Michael and Ohliger, Veronika (2018): Why would legislators (not) empower themselves? Evidence from the British House of Commons. ECPR General Conference, Hamburg, 22. - 25. August 2018.

Full text not available from 'Open Access LMU'.


Control over the parliamentary agenda is the central source of power in legislatures. Nonetheless, individual legislators forfeit their procedural privilege and grant governments exclusive access to the agenda. We aim to provide microfoundations for this puzzle through an analysis of individual legislators' voting behaviour in two similar decisions on a decentralisation of agenda control in the British House of Commons with different outcomes. We evaluate the relative importance of (a) party affiliation, (b) government or opposition status, (c) seat marginality, (d) current and (e) future status of MPs as frontbencher or backbencher in explaining legislators' decisions. Our logistic regression analysis suggests that backbench MPs in marginal seats were the crucial group which switched from opposition to support. This suggests that a decentralisation of agenda control only occurs if individual MPs regard this as serving their electoral goals. Accordingly, there is no support for the assumption that legislators generally enjoy more power under decentralised agenda control. (Presented by Michael Koß)

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