Q&A in Legislative Oversight: A Framework for Analysis

Parliamentary questions are an essential tool of legislative oversight. However, the extent to which they are effective in controlling the executive remains underspecified both theoretically and methodologically. This article advances a systematic framework for evaluating the effectiveness of parliamentary questions drawing on principal‐agent theory, the public administration literature on accountability, and communication research. The framework is coined the ‘Q&A approach to legislative oversight’ based on the premise that the study of parliamentary questions (Q) needs to be linked to their respective answers (A) and examined together (Q&A) at the micro level as an exchange of claims between legislative and executive actors. Methodologically, the Q&A approach to legislative oversight offers a step‐by‐step guide for qualitative content analysis of Q&A that can be applied to different legislative oversight contexts at different levels of governance. It is argued that the effectiveness of Q&A depends on the strength of the questions asked and the responsiveness of answers provided, which are correspondingly operationalised. To illustrate the merits of the approach, the article includes a systematic case study on the relationship between the European Parliament and the European Central Bank in banking supervision (2013‐2018), showing the connection between specific institutional settings and the effectiveness of parliamentary questions.

Adina Maricut-Akbik (2020). 'Q&A in Legislative Oversight: A Framework for Analysis.' European Journal of Political Research. 

Image: CC Jakub Novacek, Source: Pexels