Committee Chairs and Legislative Review in Parliamentary Democracies


Journal Article (Review)

© 2017 Cambridge University Press. Recent research on parliamentary institutions has demonstrated that legislatures featuring strong committees play an important role in shaping government policy. However, the impact of the legislators who lead these committees - committee chairs - is poorly understood. This study provides the first examination of whether the partisan control of committee chairs in parliamentary systems has a systematic impact on legislative scrutiny. The article argues that committee chairs can, in principle, use their significant agenda powers to serve two purposes: providing opposition parties with a greater ability to scrutinize government policy proposals, and enabling government parties to better police one another. Analyzing the legislative histories of 1,100 government bills in three parliamentary democracies, the study finds that control of committee chairs significantly strengthens the ability of opposition parties to engage in legislative review. The analysis also suggests that government parties' ability to monitor their coalition allies does not depend on control of committee chairs.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Fortunato, D; Martin, LW; Vanberg, G

Published Date

  • April 1, 2019

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 49 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 785 - 797

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1469-2112

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0007-1234

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1017/S0007123416000673

Citation Source

  • Scopus