Talks and presentations

Electoral Reform and Parliamentary Debates

February 22, 2018

Talk, MSI, University of Leuven, Leuven, Belgium

Individual legislators have stronger incentives to develop personal profiles in candidate-centered than in party-centered systems. Moreover, the party leadership have stronger incentives to protect the “brand-name” of the party in the latter than in the former system. We investigate whether the electoral system also a↵ect the topics discussed in plenary debates by comparing the topics discussed in the Norwegian Parliament before and after the 1919 electoral reform. With this re- form, Norway changed from being a candidate centered system to a party centered system. Focusing on MPs that serve both before and after the reform, we find that party di↵erences take prevalence over personal characteristics with the change from candidate to party centered system. Specifically, we show how speeches turn from candidate-centric to party ideological contestation as a consequence of electoral reform.

Sponsoring Resolutions on Civil Wars in the UN Security Council

January 31, 2018

Talk, browbag PRIO, Oslo , Oslo

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.