Europe has possessed an elected, representative institution for almost thirty years. There are several reasons why this can be considered important. For some, the existence of the European Parliament (EP) has been a powerful symbol of a continent turning away from its past divisions and conflicts.1 For many others, the EP is also of practical interest, as a fascinating – if far from wholly successful – experiment in multi-national representative politics. For a significant number of scholars, however, the EP is important at least in part because it offers a fascinating research site for the investigation of important issues in the study of political representation. This is certainly the case for those concerned with understanding how electoral institutions shape political representation. For this burgeoning, though still in some important respects under-developed field of research, Europe’s elected parliament presents the opportunity to craft powerful research designs incorporating an unusual, indeed probably unique, degree of controlled comparison: between members of the same political institution chosen under a range of very different electoral arrangements.
|Cyhoeddwyd - 18 Ion 2009