Yani Kartalis “‘Democracies without choice’ in the periphery of Europe: Parties and Parliamentary Mandate Fulfillment before and after the Eurozone Crisis (2000-2017)”

Yani presented a paper on parties and parliamentary mandate fulfillment before and after the eurozone crisis.

Here’s the abstract:

“The idea that electoral competition, party promises and manifestos are important for how the representative behaviour of parties unfolds post-electorally is central to democratic theories of representation. Recent studies however, have demonstrated that party promises are becoming decreasingly important for parliamentary decisions. The economic conditionalities that legislators now face, signal a steady deterioration of the quality of democracy. This paper’s aim is to test the alleged unfolding of what scholars have dubbed ‘democracies without choice’ through the analysis of parliamentary representation in the periphery of Europe. Do economic conditionalities actually reduce parliamentary pluralism and/or ideological range in comparison to electoral competition? By focusing on the parliaments of four European countries, Greece, Ireland, Portugal and Spain and by comparing longitudinal electoral manifesto data with post-electoral parliamentary data from 2000 to 2017 this paper attempts to shed light on an empirically understudied side of mandate fulfilment. The selected period allows for the tracking of the evolution of representation before, during and after the Eurozone crisis in countries that underwent periods of severe and differentiating external economic conditionality. The paper’s methodological approach is novel for mandate fulfilment studies extending past approaches (both conceptually and methodologically) by looking at the extent to which the parliamentary behaviour of parties matches their electoral stances. This research is an integral part of the ERC MAPLE Project, and will draw on the extensive data collected over the past two years in order to present a valuable picture on the crucial issue of the state of representation in European democracies today.”



Susana Coroado “Does formal independence of regulators change? Evidence from Portuguese agencies”

 Susana Coroado presented a paper on formal independence of regulatory agencies.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“The rise of the Regulatory State (Levi-Faur 2005) led to the global diffusion of independent regulatory agencies (Jordana et als 2018), across sectors (Gilardi 2002, 2005a, 2008), administrative traditions (Bianculli et als 2013, Thatcher 2005) and varieties of capitalism (Guardianich & Guidi 2015). These public bodies are expected to operate at an arms-length from politicians (Majone 1997, Thatcher 2002) and also maintain a distance from the firms whose activities are oversight. However, the degree of independence granted to IRAs by their principals, i.e., politicians may fluctuate significantly. Literature on regulation has paid considerable attention to this variation on legal autonomy across sectors and countries but has only measured it at the foundation of agencies. Since then, research has mostly focused on de facto independence and how politicians try to influence agencies despite legal restrictions (Thatcher 2005, Maggetti 2007, Hanretty & Koop 2013, Ennser-Jedenastik 2015, Fernández‐i‐Marín et als 2016). With the exception of competition agencies of EU members states (Guidi 2015), formal independence has not been revisited, although almost two decades have passed since the peak of the creation of agencies (Levi-Faur 2008).”



Susana Rogeiro Nina “Measuring European Synchronisation in National Public Sphere. How to build a European Synchronisation Index?”

Susana presented a paper on  European Synchronisation in national public sphere. Here’s the first paragraph:

“This research is a comparative and longitudinal study of Europeanisation of national public spheres in European countries before and after the Eurozone crisis. It takes Habermas’ (1984/1962) classic conceptualisation of the public sphere as a starting point and is structured on the third dimension of the Europeanisation concept provided by Eder and Kantner (2000) and developed by Risse (2010). This concept could be defined as synchronised Europeanisation which particularly since the Maastricht Treaty has gained a greater relevance (Hooghe and Marks, 2009).  Theoretically, it argues that national public spheres are considered Europeanised when European issues are being discussed and reported in the various media across Europe at the same time, with similar levels of attention, and framed in similar ways across national media, leading to similar interpretative schemes and structures of meaning (Risse and van de Steeg, 2003; Risse, 2010, 2015b). According to Pfetsch et al. (2008:467), “synchronisation refers to a shared system of meaning and would give European citizens a common basis for decisions”. Empirically, this thesis will focus on 4 European countries, divided into 2 groups: the “Creditors” of the Eurozone crisis (Belgium), characterised by a weaker impact of the crisis without a significant economic slowdown and with a broad tradition of being a pro-EU country and the “Debtors(Portugal, Spain and Ireland), countries which were heavily affected by the economic crisis. Moreover, we will analyse 12 newspapers, (1 tabloid and 2 mainstream printed press per country) between 2002 and 2015 (pre and after Eurozone crisis). Using a longitudinal and cross-country approach, we will split our analysis into 2 timelines: before the Eurozone crisis (2002-2008) and after the economic crisis (2009-2015). Our main goal is to understand why levels of European Synchronisation of newspapers vary over time and cross-nationally, testing the idea that Eurozone crisis may create two poles of narratives of the EU: one among the peripheral austerity countries and the other in the prosperous countries.”


Julio Figueroa Rios “Authoritarian Legacies & Democratic Institutions. Persistent Patronage Networks and the Erosion of Merit-Based Judicial Selection in Mexico, 1917-2017.”

Julio presented a paper on Authoritarian Legacies and Democratic Institutions. Here’s the abstract:

“During Mexico’s transition to democracy, at the end of 1994, a Judicial Council was created with the explicit aim of establishing a merit-based system for the selection, monitoring, and promotion of judges at all levels of the federal judiciary. However, a series of indicators show a divergence between the formal merit-based judicial career and the actual practice of appointments and promotions, which is biased in favor individuals with connections to sitting judges and persons already working in the federal judiciary. Why? What is the source of the divergence between the formally merit-based career and the actually biased hiring practices? This paper argues that patronage networks formed during the authoritarian period, when the Supreme Court hand-picked lower court judges, have persisted under the democratic regime eroding the meritocratic selection system. Based on archival data, and on a unique dataset on nepotism within the judiciary, the paper uncovers the patronage networks, and aims at showing their persistence and effects on the performance of the Judicial Council set to select judges on merit since 1995. Leveraging a relational perspective, the paper offers a mechanism of transmission and reproduction of enduring authoritarian practices despite democratic efforts to uproot them.”


Sofia Serra da Silva “Parliamentary engagement with the public through information communication technologies and the internet”

Sofia present a paper on parliamentary engagement with the public through information communication technologies and the internet . Here’s the first paragraph:

“European parliaments are now expected to actively reach out to the public (Leston-Bandeira, 2016) and in fact, many have recently developed tools to support a deepening of public engagement with parliament via internet channels in particular (Hansard Society, 2011; IPU, 2012 Leston-Bandeira, 2013). However, scholarship focusing on the parliament-citizen relationship (Norton, 2005) is still rare, and although the use of information communication technologies (ICTs) by representatives is now well documented (Coleman 2001; Polat 2005; Auty 2005; Tenscher 2014), the study of how parliaments are using those mechanisms is still in its infancy. Furthermore, the few previous studies on the topic disclose some gaps: most of the analysis takes a public administration or democratic governance perspective, leaving out a parliamentary perspective. In addition, the literature focuses almost exclusively on the Anglo-Saxon and northern European countries, leaving out many other relevant cases (Leston-Bandeira and Ward, 2008).”