Temporal Strategies. Governments Alter the Pace of Legislation in Bicameralism Depending on Electoral Expectations

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Does a government in a bicameral system strategically alter the length of the legislative process in the first chamber in anticipation of future majorities in the second chamber? Drawing on an existing formal model of dynamic policy-making, we argue that governing majorities strategically accelerate or delay their agenda when a potential majority change in the second chamber is imminent. If the government fears losing control over the second chamber, then the government accelerates their agenda. By contrast, if the government hopes to gain control over the second chamber, the government decelerates their agenda.

We test our argument in Germany’s symmetric and asymmetric bicameralism by analyzing 1,966 governmental bills from 1998 to 2013. The analyses confirm our expectations for symmetric bicameralism, thus suggesting that the synchronicity of election cycles should be taken into account both in the analysis of bicameral systems and in institutional design of such systems.

Published in Legislative Studies Quarterly

Together with
Christoph Garwe
Christoph Hönnige
Yannick  Stawicki

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