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Christoffer Green-Pedersen, "Bringing Parties Into Parliament: The Development of Parliamentary Activities in Western Europe," Party Politics, 16 (May 2010), 347-369. [Available at http://ppq.sagepub.com/content/vol16/issue3/ ]

First paragraph:
Studies of political parties in Western Europe have pointed to significant changes in party behaviour, including an increased focus on media appearance, increased use of spin doctors, etc. This change in party behaviour has recently been described as increased importance of what party competition theory calls 'issue competition' (Green, 2007; Green-Pedersen, 2007; Mair et al., 2004). Parties increasingly compete by attempting to draw attention to particular political issues that are beneficial for them; not just by taking positions on pre-given issues (Budge and Farlie, 1983; Carmines, 1991). One of the questions emerging from the increased importance of issue competition is how it affects party behaviour in parliaments - a central arena for party competition.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Regression over time of the development of the number of non-legislative activities
Table 2. Regression over time of the development in the number of laws in 11 countries
Figure 1. Issue content of questions posed by the Liberals, 1994-2001 (Percentages)
Figure 2. Issue content of questions posed by the Red-Green Alliance, 1994-2001 (Percentages)
Figure 3. Issue content of questions posed by the Social Democrats, 2001-2003 (Percentages)
Figure 4. Issue content of questions posed by the Danish People's Party, 2001-2003 (Percentages)
Appendix 1: Collection of Data about Non-legislative Activities

Last Paragraph:
In sum, what this article hopefully offers is a theoretical starting point from which to raise the questions previously neglected in the literature. The paper thus also points to a further direction for empirical research into nonlegislative activities - namely studying their issue or policy content rather than just counting their numbers. The parliamentary literature has rarely paid any attention to the content of non-legislative activities.

Last updated May 2010