The Politics of Legislative Debates

Together with Hanna Back and Marc Debus, I am co-editing a volume on legislative debates bringing together over 75 authors. Our edited volume will be published with Oxford University Press in 2020. It includes theoretical and methodological chapters. Furthermore, it includes 42 country-chapters from Europe, the Americas, Africa, Asia, and Oceania.‚Äč


The Voice of the Party: Gender Quota Reforms and Women's Incorporation in Legislative Debate (with Mariana Lopes da Fonseca and Miguel Won)

Democratic governments are increasingly looking to gender quotas as a means to increase women's representation in politics. Yet even when women occupy more seats, meaningful barriers may remain to their participation in the legislature. Specifically, parties may comply with a quota yet withhold important political resources from women, such as floor time in legislative debates. Our paper draws on data from Portugal to explore patterns in women's legislative participation before and after the adoption of a gender quota. While women's overall floor time increased post-quota, gendered imbalances remained; women were underrepresented in the most politically salient legislative debates, and women elected post-reform were ceded less floor time in their first terms as compared to other rookie legislators. Further, parties varied systematically in their incorporation of women into debates post-reform. Altogether, our findings suggest that gender quotas chip away at, but do not shatter, glass ceilings for women in politics.


Electoral Competitiveness and Minority Candidate Selection in the British House of Commons (with Georgina Evans and Sascha Riaz)

Promoting the political representation of ethnic minorities is one of the greatest tasks facing increasingly diverse Western democracies. This paper turns to the British case to analyze under what conditions ethnic minorities can gain political representation in the House of Commons. Drawing on data covering over 13,000 candidate nominations, we investigate the conditions under which parties nominate BME politicians. We show that there is a non-linear relationship between parties’ perceived electoral competitiveness at the district level and the likelihood of parties to support BME candidates: most strikingly, BME candidates are most likely to be nominated in electoral races that ex-ante they are almost certain to loose.

To capture this strategic process empirically, this paper introduces a novel measure of electoral competitiveness at the district level, which models parties’ expected probability of winning a given district based on previous electoral results, polling data, and other district-level characteristics. This measure offers a realistic picture of partisan information and winning prospects at the time of candidate selection.


Candidate Selection Democratization and Electoral Results: Evidence from 43 Countries (with Yael Shomer)

Candidate selection processes have been regarded as an arena where intra-party power struggles occur. In recent years, some scholars have identified a democratization trend, where more and more parties adopt decentralized and inclusive candidate selection procedures. Scholar articulated many reasons for this trend: parties may have a normative justification for democratizing their internal procedures, they may mimic other parties in their countries, or they may believe democratizing candidate selection processes will help them maximize their seat share and improve their electoral fortune. In this paper we examine this latter belief. Specifically, we examine whether parties that use inclusive and decentralized candidate selection procedures tend to fare better in the elections compared to parties that use restrictive processes (while controlling for other potential co-variates). We then focus my attention to those parties that altered their selection processes from one election cycle to the next, and examine whether indeed democratizing selection processes helped parties' electoral fortune, while restricting these processes heart parties' electoral success. To this end, we use data on intra-party candidate selection processes for 492 parties (in a given election), from 43 democratic countries. The results of the analysis shed doubt on the common believe that democratization of candidate selection processes improves a party's electoral fortune.