legislative function; Switzerland; political decision-making; database; parliament
Jaquet Julien M., Sciarini Pascal, Gava Roy (2021), Can't buy me votes? Campaign spending and the outcome of direct democratic votes, in West European Politics
GAVA ROY, JAQUET JULIEN M., SCIARINI PASCAL (2020), Legislating or rubber-stamping? Assessing parliament's influence on law-making with text reuse, in European Journal of Political Research
Sciarini Pascal, Fischer Manuel, Gava Roy, Varone Frédéric (2019), The influence of co-sponsorship on MPs’ agenda-setting success, in West European Politics
, 44, 327-353.
Fischer Manuel, Varone Frédéric, Gava Roy, Sciarini Pascal (2019), How MPs' ties to interest groups influence legislative co-sponsorship, in Social Networks
, 57, 34-42.
Jaquet Julien, Sciarini Pascal, Varone Frédéric (2019), Policy Agenda-Setting: Regierung als Hauptinitiator von Entscheidungsprozessen?, in Haldemann Theo, Ritz Adrian, Sager Fritz (ed.), NZZ Verlag, Zürich, 213-233.
Sciarini Pascal, Varone Frédéric, Gava Roy, Brouard Sylvain, Navarro Julien, Palau Anna M., Vliegenthart Rens (2019), The Europeanization of parliamentary attention in and out of the European Union: France, Spain, the Netherlands and Switzerland compared, in Baumgartner Frank, Grossman Emiliano, Breunig Christian (ed.), Oxford University Press, Oxford, 317-333.
Gava Roy, Sciarini Pascal, Varone Frédéric (2017), Who Europeanises parliamentary attention, on which issues and how? A policy agenda perspective, in The Journal of Legislative Studies
, 23(4), 566-593.
Recent studies have challenged the conventional view that the legislative function of the Swiss Parliament is weak in comparative perspective. However, a systematic analysis of the influence of the Swiss parliament on political decision-making and of how this influence has evolved over time is still missing. Our research project aims at filling this gap. It integrates the study of the parliaments' legislative function into a more comprehensive framework taking into account both earlier (pre-parliamentary) and subsequent (direct democratic) decision-making stages, and covers the entire set of legislative acts adopted by the Swiss parliament from 1987 to 2015 (i.e. seven legislative periods and roughly 1400 acts). The parliament's legislative function comprises two main dimensions, agenda-setting and law-making. The agenda-setting function rests on the ability of MPs or parliamentary committees to initiate legislation. The law-making function, in turn, relates to the parliament's capacity to elaborate, modify and ultimately adopt legislative acts. Elaborating on previous studies of parliamentary amendments, we will apply up-to-date tools to quantitatively assess the extent to which the Swiss parliament modifies draft legislation prepared by the government. In addition, we will also seek to evaluate the parliament's legislative function from the perspective of its capacity to anticipate the likelihood of success of legislative acts in the subsequent, direct democratic phase. Given the interactions between decision-making phases in general, and the existence of the referendum "threat" in particular, the ability of the Swiss parliament to have its legislation not challenged or accepted in the direct democratic phase is especially crucial, and can be used as an indicator of the parliament's strength. Similarly, taking into account that government may strategically anticipate the subsequent stages will lead us to assess the parliament's legislative function in the light of this specific context. More specifically, we will ask whether a low amendment rate of governmental proposals is a sign of parliamentary weakness, or rather of the ability of the Swiss government to draft proposals that receive across-the-board support in parliament. Recognizing the strategic nature of the interactions among decision-makers will help us to provide a finer-grained view of parliament's legislative function.Further to analyzing how Swiss parliament's legislative function has evolved over time, we will also investigate whether and to what extent its agenda-setting and law-making capacities vary according to three sets of factors: project-related characteristics, such as their intrinsic importance, their juridical type, or the issue topic at stake; process-related factors, such as the institutional design and resulting degree of development of the pre-parliamentary phase (i.e. whether a consultation procedure, an expert committee or any other form of consultation mechanism was held); actor-related factors, such as MPs' characteristics.To reach these goals, we will need to resort to an integrated database allowing for the systematic and quantitative tracing of decision-making processes. To that end, we will update, extend and relate to each other five data-sets that we have developed and/or used in previous studies: (1) A data-set that for each decision-making process provides information on the pre-parliamentary procedures that were at work and on the resulting degree of development of the pre-parliamentary phase; (2) a data-set on all parliamentary votes held in the lower house - and some held in the upper house; (3) a data-set on MPs' membership in parliamentary committees, and affiliation in interest groups and firms; (4) a data-set on parliamentary interventions (initiatives and motions) introduced in both chambers of parliament; and (5) a data-set on legislative inputs and outputs, i.e. on legislative proposals introduced by the Swiss government and on legislative acts eventually adopted by the Swiss parliament and possibly submitted to a direct democratic vote.The creation of an integrated database on decision-making processes will be a first and important milestone. Further, by offering a systematic assessment of the Swiss parliament's legislative function, the "core business" of any parliament, our research will help to overcome the limitations of existing studies that focus on institutional and formal aspects. Given the importance of contextual changes such as Europeanization and party polarization in contemporary Swiss politics, shedding light on how these changes affect the parliament's agenda-setting and law-making functions is also of utmost importance from a practical perspective.