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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter September 19, 2019

Oral Questions in the European Parliament: A Network Analysis

  • Sebastian Jäckle EMAIL logo and Thomas Metz


Internal working structures within parliaments are notoriously hard to capture. While analyses based on bill co-sponsorship work for the US Congress, this approach is not feasible in many parliamentary systems. Drawing on data from the European Parliament’s legislative term of 2009–2014 this article shows that parliamentary questions can be another option. Members of the European Parliament may demand information from the Council or the Commission through oral questions. We take advantage of the fact that these questions are signed by their authors and construct a social network of members of the Parliament that support each other’s oral questions. This allows investigating how members and their groups and committees cooperate to control both Council and Commission. Our approach helps to map out the internal structure of the party groups and explore which forces shape the global network. We find that cooperation is mostly driven by party group membership with ALDE, Green/EFA, and GUENGL turning out as the most cohesive groups while SD is internally rather loosely connected. The second strongest clustering characteristic is a legislators’ native country.


Modularity is defined as Q=12mi,j(Aijkikj2m)δ(ci,cj) with m number of edges, Aij denoting the element in row i, column j of the adjacency matrix A, ki and kj denoting the degree of nodes i and j, respectively, ci and cj the type of nodes i and j, and δ(x, y) standing for the Kronecker delta which is 1 if x=y and 0 otherwise.


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Published Online: 2019-09-19
Published in Print: 2019-12-18

©2019 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston

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