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Parliamentary control: How to move beyond partisan behavior?

Special Research Projects


The project is about how Members of Parliament (MPs) adhere to different roles in parliament and the challenges this might bring when it comes to tasks related to parliamentary control. We expect MPs as parliamentarians to oversee government, but also to take actions in case of government violations. However, as partisans representing political parties, this might not always be in MPs best interests. This project addresses this incentive challenge and aims to identify factors that can support MPs´ parliamentarian behavior. Overall, this project addresses challenges related to parliamentary control in parliamentary systems and investigates how to move beyond partisan behavior in parliamentary control activity.


Finding ways to support MPs´ parliamentarian behavior in control activity is important in order to strengthen control of executive power. Parliamentary systems suffer from weak control mechanisms after government is inserted, and it is important to find ways to strengthen such accountability mechanisms. In other words, this project addresses important accountability concerns. To ensure accountability - that power holders are held to account - is important in order to secure the quality of modern democratic systems.


The project investigates when MPs pay attention to parliamentary control, and when MPs display parliamentarian behavior in control activity. Empirically, the project focuses on parliaments in the Nordic region, which have different, but strong control institutions as well as strong political parties. The project focuses on the importance of the following factors on MP behavior: MPs control preferences, the salience of parliamentary control, office benefits, the institutional strength, degree of rules and procedures, and minority or majority coalition systems. The project is organized as three studies. The first is a descriptive study of control institutions. The second study is a survey of MPs preferences for control activity. The third study focuses on MP behavior in treatment of cases.


This study seeks to identify factors that support MPs important parliamentarian task to engage in control of government. Hereby, this project contributes to finding ways to strengthen accountability in modern democratic systems. Finding these factors can offer new information, which is useful for future institutional parliamentary system design and innovation.