Rita Figueiras “O Efeito Marcelo”

Rita Figueiras from UCP presented her book about the Marcelo Effect and discussed her methodology.

Here’s the two first paragraphs of the book:

” «Estamos aqui de pulsos cortados e de coração apertado. Custa-nos ver partir o Professor Marcelo. Esta é uma homenagem da TVI a uma das suas principais figuras e mais duradouras figuras. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa faz parte da história desta estação. Escreveu com o seu próprio punho alguns dos capítulos mais gloriosos do sucesso da informação da TVI. Portanto, na entrada desta sua nova fase de vida, de certa forma, também abre um novo capítulo para a informação da TVI aos domingos. É um desafio que está lançado. Substituir alguém que, por definição, é insubstituível.»

O diretor de informação da TVI, Sérgio Figueiredo, disse estas palavras no último dia de Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa como comentador, em outubro de 2015. A emissão especial de 38 minutos foi inteiramente dedicada ao «professor» (como os jornalistas da estação lhe chamavam) e contou com a presença de seis dos pivôs (Judite Sousa, José Alberto Carvalho, Júlio Magalhães, Ana Sofia Vinhas, José Carlos Castro e João Maia Abreu) que o acompanharam ao longo dos anos. Os seus dois filhos também estiveram no estúdio, juntando-se à homenagem no fim da emissão. Se fosse hoje, o momento teria terminado com uma selfie, certamente tirada pelo próprio Marcelo. “


Teresa Violante “Combatting TINA-Rhetoric through judicial review: Dealing whith welfare and pay cuts in times of financial consolidation”

Teresa Violante of Goethe University presented her research on the political activism of the Constitutional Court during the Eurozone Crisis.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“Recently, the German Federal Constitutional Court (FCC) has decided that certain cuts on wages for civil servants in the Land Baden-Württemberg are unconstitutional because they violate the principle of equitable and equal alimentation according to Art. 33(5) of the German Basic Law. The judgment reveals interesting parallels to the jurisprudence of the Portuguese Constitutional Court (PCC) regarding pay cuts for civil servants in the context of anti-austerity measures during the Eurozone crisis. Most notably, both courts rely on the principle of equality to assess the constitutionality of public pay cuts. Moreover, they require the legislator to provide a reasoned justification for such pay cuts during the legislative procedure and to explicitly consider alternative measures. While this form of proceduralization of judicial review significantly interferes with the political margin of appreciation of the legislator, it also sets clear limits to austerity measures. It establishes a constitutional answer to the so called no-alternative rhetoric that has largely dominated the political discourse on budgetary consolidation in the past. Viewed from this perspective, this line of jurisprudence allows for opening up a political and constitutional discourse that has become somewhat colonized by purely economic and financial considerations.”

Ana Espírito Santo, Marina Costa Lobo and Pedro Magalhães “Portuguese Election Study: Questionnaire for the post-election CSES Survey in Portugal”

Ana Espírito Santo and Marina Costa Lobo presented the Portuguese Election Study and discussed the questionnaire for the post election CSES Survey.  Pedro Magalhães, as member of CSES planning Committee of Module 5, explained the logic behind the questionnaire.

Here’s the link of the document prepared for that meeting:


Enrico Borghetto “ Seeking information or pressing for action: analysing the function of parliamentary questions in a comparative perspective”

Enrico Borghetto presented a paper on the function of parliamentary questions, namely the use of parliamentary questioning to oversee the actions of the government and influence its agenda in three countries (Portugal, France and Belgium)

 Here’s the abstract:

“In modern legislatures, political parties use parliamentary questions for two main purposes: to elicit information from the government and to press the government to pay attention to a specific issue. Although the literature agrees on the importance of both the information and agenda-setting functions, there is still little research on which of the two is prevalent and which conditions favour them. In particular, the differential strategy of majority and opposition parties deserves more attention: whereas opposition parties have strong incentives to exploit the conflict potential of parliamentary questions, majority MPs likely use these questions as an instrument to support the executive rather than as an attack tool. We study this matter by collecting comparable evidence on the policy content of parliamentary questions and Council of Ministers’ meetingsin three countries (Belgium, France and Portugal). One advantage of our study design is the possibility to test the reciprocal relationship between parliamentary questions and cabinet decisions, while controlling for attention in the media. Our preliminary findings suggest 1) that opposition parties do not tend to use parliamentary questioning to get the executive to release information immediately after a decision is taken; and 2) that parliamentary questions, from majority and opposition MPs alike, succeed respectively in anticipating and pushing issues into the cabinet agenda when also the media pay attention to them.”


Rino Cammino “Political advice and the informational environment of executive leaders. A social network analysis of Italian prime ministers’ staffs (1998-2018)”

Rino Cammino presented part of his doctoral thesis on the impact of prime ministerial staffs on their principal’s informational environment.

 Here’s the presentation abstract:

This excerpt addresses the impact of prime ministerial staffs on their principal’s informational environment. The latter expression refers to prime ministers’ exposure to relevant information – i.e. political insights, business intelligence, and policy ideas – which contribute to their knowledge capital and may be consequential in the decision making process. Network capacity is framed according to the strategies of mirroring and compensation pursued by prime ministers (PMs) in the selection of their collaborators. The resulting configurations are suitable to be tested against the assumptions concerning different motivations behind such strategies; the exploratory analysis also shows some patterns and limitations encountered by Italian leaders in the last twenty years.”


Tiago Silva “Online vs. offline strategies in comparative perspective”

Tiago Silva presented a chapter of his research on the role and impact of the Internet on politics.

Here’s the first paragraph:

“Seemingly groundbreaking inventions often prompt in literature, particularly when they are relatively new, either bold expectations or overestimated concerns. The Internet, and most of the other mass mediums that preceded it, are very good examples of that. Not only the perceived effects of mass media have not been consensual but they also have been changing along time (McQuail, 1979). However, while for mediums such as the press or television, perceptions of their impact and persuasive power have swung at the pace of centuries and decades, in the case of the Internet, opinions can change in years or even weeks. Compared to other mass media, the Internet has been evolving and transforming itself in a much faster pace, being for this reason extremely difficult to forecast, within the cyberspace, which online applications might succeed or end up a fiasco. Obama’s 2008 campaign was a very good example of that. Known for its incorporation of social media applications (Ross et al., 2015), this campaign made in 2008 only one single ‘tweet’ because, at the time, its managers thought that Twitter was a “stupid technology”[i]. Nevertheless, despite the uncertainties about the persuasive power of different mass media, the ability to easily reach a very large audience, which is also increasingly more the case with the Internet, will always be compelling for anyone who wants to shape and shift public opinion. It is therefore unsurprising that nowadays the vast majority of political parties and candidates have already incorporated the Internet in their campaign practices.”

Edalina Rodrigues Sanches “The spatial dynamics of ethnic and regional voting in Africa”

Edalina Rodrigues Sanches presented her and António Luís Dias’ paper on the effect of ethnicity and regionality on voting behaviour, as well the spatial dynamics of this phenomenon.

Here’s the abstract:

“Scholars of African politics have stressed the ethnic nature of politics but neglected other prevalent social cleavages – such as regional cleavages – and the spatial dynamics of voting behaviour. This study extends the logic of cleavage voting in Africa by estimating the effect of ethnicity and regionality on voting behaviour, and by exploring the spatial dynamics of this phenomenon. Using Afrobarometer round 5 data on 23 countries, it estimates multilevel models of voting behaviour controlling for individual, regional and country-level factors. Two main findings should be highlighted. First, voters tend to support candidates with whom they share an ethnic and a regional identity, thus corroborating the relevance of social cleavages for voting decisions. Second, the effect of ethnicity and regionality varies significantly at the national and subnational-level; more specifically, the greatest effects are found where the regional and ethnic interests are deepest and most politicised; implying that supply-side factors play a significant role in voters’ calculations. The study contributes to a better understanding of cleavage voting in Africa, and highlights how key features of the geographic contexts interact with the information given by social identities”