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Essays on bicameral coalition formation: dynamics of legislative cooperation in the European Union

Obholzer, Lukas (2014) Essays on bicameral coalition formation: dynamics of legislative cooperation in the European Union. PhD thesis, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE).

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The thesis develops a theory of legislative cooperation in bicameral legislatures. At its core is a distinction between two decision-making scenarios leading to a concurrent majority in the two chambers. In an inter-institutional scenario, the chambers oppose each other as unitary actors. In a trans-institutional scenario, the constituent actors enter into cooperation across the boundaries of their chambers. The central argument is that formateurs face a strategic decision on which of these two routes to take. They can stick to their intra-institutional coalition, or they can abandon it and propose a logroll across issues within a bill that is carried by a majority across the chambers. The thesis comprises three papers, united by the general topic of trans-institutional legislative cooperation, and each demonstrating the crucial role of the formateurs. The empirical analysis focuses on co-decision legislation proposed in the bicameral system of the European Union between 1999 and 2009. In particular, it draws on a new dataset on early-stage and final-stage coalitions in the European Parliament and the Council of the EU. This is based on an extensive analysis of more than 18,000 Council documents and 19,000 amendments in the EP presenting for the first time a systematic insight into early-stage coalitions. Three central findings emanate from the application of the theoretical framework to the new data. First, formateurs can obtain an outcome closer to their preferences by choosing between inter- and trans-institutional scenarios. Second, the transaction costs of exchanges across institutional boundaries are lower if formateurs’ preferences are similar. Third, the decisions of the formateurs potentially produce winners and losers as some actors are included and others are excluded from the coalitions. These findings build on and further develop theories of bicameral coalition formation and legislative organisation. They highlight that the strategic environment in which actors operate surpasses their individual chamber, and explain how this affects the process and outcome of decision-making. This leads to important empirical and theoretical contributions which raise normative implications.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2014 Lukas Obholzer
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > European Institute
Supervisor: Kleine, Mareike and Hagemann, Sara and Featherstone, Kevin

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