In StREP – The Strategy of Recorded Voting in the European Parliament – we seek to uncover the strategic game behind the requests of roll call votes. While we seek a understanding of the phenomena in general, the initial empirical focus is on the European Parliament (EP). The reason for this is twofold. First, the EP is an important legislator in its own right, as EU legislation is not only affecting the lives of more than the 500 million people of the EU member states, but also the publics of non-EU member-states such as the Switzerland and Norway. Research on roll call voting in the EP has demonstrated that the voting behavior in these votes to a large extent mirrors what we see in other multiparty systems. Furthermore, a substantive proportion of the votes are not taken by roll call. Although existing research has pointed towards possible strategic reasons for requesting roll calls on some votes but not others, these strategic accounts have not been subjected to systematic statistical testing in any large extent. Enter StREP. In the project’s first part, we will develop theoretical based statistical estimators suitable for addressing this question. We will collect data that enables systematic testing of strategic models of roll call requests. These results will subsequently lay the foundation for the second part of the project. Here, we incorporate the insight regarding roll call requests when developing and testing new models of MEPs voting behavior, coalition formation and voting outcomes. In the third part of the project we will explore applications of these models and methods to settings beyond the European Parliament.
The papers mentioned below are early results from pilot studies in relation to the development of this project.
Strategic Roll Call Requests (with Fang-Yi Chiou and Simon Hug)
Roll call vote analyses used to infer ideal-points of legislators or the co- hesiveness of parties all implicitly assume that the data-generating process leading to such votes is random and does not affect MPs’ behavior. If roll call votes, however, are requested by party leaders or MPs, this assumption is unlikely to hold. Strategic considerations by the actors requesting roll call votes are likely to influence the inferences we wish to make based on observed voting behavior by legislators. To address this issue we extend Chiou and Yang’s (2008) strategic estimator for roll call vote requests and apply it to data on roll call vote requests in the European parliament. We find that strategic considerations play a considerable role in roll call vote requests, which questions some empirical findings regarding such requests presented in the literature.
Sponsoring Resolutions on Civil Wars in the UN Security Council (with Fang-Yi Chiou and Simon Hug)
The United Nations Security Council alone has the power, under chapter VII, to adopt binding resolutions concerning interventions in civil wars through peacekeeping missions. While some research has focused on the conditions under which such resolutions are adopted or rejected (most often due to a veto by a permanent member), we know little what influences whether such resolutions are introduced for consideration by the UNSC, or put differently, who sponsors such resolutions. This is problematic as the absence of an adopted resolution, for instance for creating a peacekeeping operation might be due to the absence of a sponsor for such a resolution or a negative vote on a resolution introduced. In part as a consequence, sponsorship decisions by the members of the UNSC are quite likely to be affected by the likelihood of winning approval by the fifteen members of the UNSC and the sponsorship decisions of other members. We propose an empirical approach that allows taking these interdependencies into account, and, when evaluating commonly used explanatory variables for the adoption of peacekeeping missions, we find results contradicting previous findings on the adoption of such resolutions.