Adaptive Behavior in the European Parliament: Learning to Balance Competing Demands

European Union Politics, Vol. 13, No. 4

34 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011 Last revised: 21 Feb 2012

See all articles by René Lindstädt

René Lindstädt

Jonathan Slapin

University of Houston

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 10, 2012

Abstract

Parliamentary institutions and partisan norms are complex, and new members of parliament are unlikely to possess an innate awareness of optimal behavior. This paper examines how new legislators adopt the behavioral patterns of incumbent members in the 6th European Parliament. The 6th EP provides an excellent opportunity to study such adaptive behavior; in addition to newly elected members from EU15 states, new MEPs from ten accession countries took seats for the first time. We examine how voting behavior differs between new members from EU15 states, new members from accession countries, and incumbent members. Our analysis shows that new EU15 members defect less from their European political group than incumbents, while new accession country members defect more. Over time, the differences between these groups disappear.

Keywords: Legislative Politics, Comparative Politics, Comparative Legislatures, European Parliament, Roll Call Voting, Legislative Behavior, Political Economy, Adaptive Behavior, Learning, Principal-Agent Relationships

JEL Classification: C11, C15, D72, D83

Suggested Citation

Lindstaedt, Rene and Slapin, Jonathan and Vander Wielen, Ryan J., Adaptive Behavior in the European Parliament: Learning to Balance Competing Demands (February 10, 2012). European Union Politics, Vol. 13, No. 4. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1856035 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1856035

Jonathan Slapin

University of Houston ( email )

4800 Calhoun Road
Houston, TX 77204
United States

Ryan J. Vander Wielen

Temple University - Department of Political Science ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

No contact information is available for Rene Lindstaedt

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