The impact of informalisation: Early agreements and voting cohesion in the European Parliament

European Union legislative decision-making is increasingly shifted into informal secluded arenas. Scholars have explained this trend and analysed its consequences for bargaining success and democratic legitimacy. Yet, we know little about how informalisation affects legislative behaviour in the European Parliament. This article contributes to closing the gap, by theorising and analysing the impact of ‘early agreements’ on cohesion. Given the reputational, political and transaction costs of failing an early agreement in plenary, we expect political groups to invest heavily in discipline and consensus, and legislators to comply in votes. Using a new dataset, combining Hix et al.’s (2007) roll-call data with original codecision data (1999–2011), we show that informalisation increases cohesion but only for centrist parties. Rapporteurships and votes on ‘costly’ legislative resolutions also matter, but do not mediate the effect of early agreement.

Edoardo Bressanelli, Christel Koop & Christine Reh (2016). “The Impact of Informalisation: Early Agreements and Voting Cohesion in the European Parliament”. In: European Union Politics 17:1, 91-113.

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