Lay summary
LeadAn increasing number of parliamentary studies draw on roll call votes to generate information on individual members of parliament. Such studies often neglect, however, that roll call votes are a subset of all votes in a given parliament. To understand whether information based on roll call votes is in some way biased, we need a better understanding of the institutional rules and practices that lead to roll call votes.SummaryThe study starts with a survey of parliamentary experts around the world to generate systematic information on the institutional rules that regulate the requests for roll call votes. In addition more context specific information on the practical reasons for roll call vote requests will be collected. This data will be used in combination with more detailed information on the characteristics of votes in several parliaments (the Swiss lower house, the Polish Sejm, the European parliament etc.) to test the empirical implications of theoretical models developed on the basis of different motivations for roll call vote requests. A major endeavour will consist of understanding whether party cohesion determined on the basis of roll call votes provides an accurate description of the overall cohesion of parties (also in secret votes).GoalApart from providing a new dataset on institutional rules and practices related to roll call votes, the project also aims at offering a better understanding of the role roll call votes play in different parliamentary contexts. It aims also at offering new suggestions how insights drawn from roll call votes need to be adjusted to offer a more accurate picture of parliamentary processes in general.ImportanceGiven the increased use of roll call votes in parliamentary research, our newly collected data will offer researchers a sounder base on which to ground their studies. Our empirical results are also likely to offer a much improved view on how roll call votes affect parliamentary behavior and thus offer new views on issues of representation and accountability in different parliamentary regimes.