Nodding or Needling: Analyzing Delegate Responsiveness in an Authoritarian Parliament

American Political Science Review, Vol. 104.3, pp. 1-21, August 2010

21 Pages Posted: 2 Sep 2010 Last revised: 27 Sep 2010

See all articles by Edmund J. Malesky

Edmund J. Malesky

Duke University, Political Science

Paul J. Schuler

University of Arizona

Date Written: August 31, 2010

Abstract

Recent scholarship argues that one solution to ensure longevity and economic growth in an authoritarian regime is to co-opt potential opposition by offering them limited policy influence in a national legislature. While co-option theory generates a number of predictions for delegate behavior within an authoritarian parliament, the opacity of such regimes has made empirical confirmation difficult. We resolve this problem by exploiting the transcripts of query sessions in the Vietnamese National Assembly, where delegates question the Prime Minister and Cabinet Members on important issues of the day. Using a content analysis of queries, we offer the first empirical test of delegate behavior in non-democratic parliaments. We find that some delegates exhibit behavior consistent with co-option theory by actively participating in sessions, demonstrating criticism of authorities, and responding to the needs of local constituents. Such responsiveness, however, is parameterized by regime rules for nominating, electing, and assigning parliamentary responsibilities to individual delegates.

Keywords: Vietnam, National Assembly, Query Session, Parliament, Authoritarian Institutions

JEL Classification: P2, P3

Suggested Citation

Malesky, Edmund J. and Schuler, Paul J., Nodding or Needling: Analyzing Delegate Responsiveness in an Authoritarian Parliament (August 31, 2010). American Political Science Review, Vol. 104.3, pp. 1-21, August 2010. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1669709

Edmund J. Malesky (Contact Author)

Duke University, Political Science ( email )

140 Science Drive (Gross Hall), 2nd floor
Duke University Mailcode: 90204
Durham, NC 27708-0204
United States

Paul J. Schuler

University of Arizona ( email )

Department of History
Tucson, AZ 85721
United States

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