Ministerial Autonomy, Parliamentary Scrutiny and Government Reform Output in Parliamentary Democracies

Author(s)
Hanna Bäck, Wolfgang C. Müller, Mariyana Angelova, Daniel Strobl
Abstract

One of the most important decisions coalition partners make when forming a government is the division of ministries. Ministerial portfolios provide the party in charge with considerable informational and agenda-setting advantages, which parties can use to shape policies according to their preferences. Oversight mechanisms in parliaments play a central role in mitigating ministerial policy discretion, allowing coalition partners to control each other even though power has been delegated to individual ministers. However, we know relatively little about how such mechanisms influence the agenda-setting and gatekeeping powers of ministers, and how much influence minister parties have on policy output relative to the government as a whole in different institutional settings. We fill this gap by analyzing original data on over 2,000 important social and economic policy reform measures adopted in nine Western European countries over 20 years, based on a coding of more than 1,200 country reports issued by the Economist Intelligence Unit and the OECD. We find that parliaments with strong oversight powers constrain the agenda-setting capacity of minister parties, but have limited impact on their gatekeeping capacity. Our findings have important implications for our understanding of policy-making and democratic accountability.

Organisation(s)
Department of Government
External organisation(s)
Lund University
Journal
Comparative Political Studies
Pages
1
No. of pages
42
ISSN
0010-4140
Publication date
2019
Peer reviewed
Yes
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
506014 Comparative politics
Keywords
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Social Sciences(all), Political Science and International Relations
Portal url
https://ucris.univie.ac.at/portal/en/publications/ministerial-autonomy-parliamentary-scrutiny-and-government-reform-output-in-parliamentary-democracies(b3b08e20-4bb0-4612-8339-ae15979f0622).html