Tools for Legislative Oversight: An Empirical Investigation

24 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Riccardo Pelizzo

Riccardo Pelizzo

Nazarbayev University

Rick Stapenhurst

McGill University - School of Continuing Studies

Date Written: August 25, 2004

Abstract

Parliaments are the institutions through which governments are held accountable to the electorate. They have a wide range of tools with which to carry out this oversight function, but until recently little analysis had been undertaken on the characteristics or use of such tools. Pelizzo and Stapenhurst use data for 83 countries that was collected in 2001 to investigate whether the oversight potential relates to three variables, namely the form of government (presidential, semi-presidential, or parliamentary), per capita income levels, and the level of democracy.

The authors find that oversight potential is greatly affected by the form of government, per capita income levels, and levels of democracy. Countries with parliamentary forms of government, higher income levels, and which are more democratic have a greater number of oversight tools and greater oversight potential. While the oversight potential follows this general trend, the use of committees of enquiry, interpellations, and ombudsman offices follows a different pattern. The use of interpellations as an oversight tool is most common in high-income countries, less common in low-income countries, and least common in middle-income countries, while the presence of committees of enquiry and ombudsman offices is most common in middle-income countries, less common in high-income countries, and least common in low-income countries.

This paper - a product of the Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Division, World Bank Institute - is part of a larger effort in the institute to strengthen parliamentary oversight of public finance in developing countries.

Suggested Citation

Pelizzo, Riccardo and Stapenhurst, Rick, Tools for Legislative Oversight: An Empirical Investigation (August 25, 2004). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=625265

Riccardo Pelizzo (Contact Author)

Nazarbayev University ( email )

53 Kabanbay Batyra Avenue
Astana, 010000
Kazakhstan

Rick Stapenhurst

McGill University - School of Continuing Studies ( email )

Montreal, QC
Canada

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