Simon Hix

Simon Hix
The London School of Economics and Political Science | LSE · Department of Government

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198
Publications
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Publications

Publications (198)
Article
In this article, we revisit the main claims of Part Four of Thomas Piketty's Capital and Ideology and especially the changing support coalitions for parties of the left. Piketty's core argument in this part of the book is that the left now represents the highly educated and that, as a result, the redistributive preferences of the working class do n...
Chapter
This chapter examines the development and operation of the European Union from a comparative politics perspective. It first considers the evolution of the EU, from the signing of the Treaty of Paris in 1951 that established the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) to the admission of Lithuania in 2015 as the nineteenth member of the Eurozone, a...
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We describe the electoral history of one of Europe’s most successful party families over the past 100 years in 31 countries. With a unique and newly collected dataset of national election results, and a large number of economic and social variables mea- sured for each country-election observation, we find that two main factors drive the electoral p...
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Ireland has experienced many of the (‘demand side') economic and cultural factors that have led to the rise of populism in democracies across the world: a major economic downturn, growing income inequality, and mass immigration. Also, at the individual level, the same socio-demographic characteristics seem to predict populist values in Ireland as i...
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Electoral reform creates new strategic coordination incentives for voters and elites, but endogeneity problems make such effects hard to identify. We address this issue by investigating an extraordinary dataset, from the introduction of proportional representation in Norway in 1919, which allows us to measure vote-shares of parties in the pre-refor...
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Immigration is highly salient for voters in Europe and the United States and has generated considerable academic debate about the causes of preferences over immigration. This debate centers around the relative influences of sociotropic or personal economic considerations, as well as non-economic threats. We provide a test of the competing egocentri...
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Liberal Intergovernmentalism has a particular set of assumptions about the relationship between voters and governments. Either voters are content to trust their governments, because issues have low salience, or governments react to voters’ preferences. How far is this ‘supply side’ of the theory still valid in the newly politicized world of EU poli...
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We examine the magnitude and significance of selection bias in roll call votes. Prior to 2009, all recorded (roll call) votes in the European Parliament had to be requested explicitly by European Political Groups. Since 2009, a roll call vote has been mandatory on all final legislative votes. We exploit that change in the rules and compare differen...
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The JCMS Annual Review Lecture 2018.
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What can the case of the 2016 referendum on UK membership of the European Union (EU) teach us about message framing effects and arguments that persuade citizens whether or not to support the EU? In this article, we report findings from an innovative online survey experiment based on a two-wave panel design. Our findings show that despite the expect...
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There is a growing body of research on the impact of the electoral system ‘ballot structure’ on the behaviour of politicians. We offer a clear, ordinal and rules-based three-way coding (closed, flexible, open) of the electoral systems used in European Parliament elections, taking into account both the ballot type and the intra-party seat-allocation...
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Why do legislators switch party? We seek to identify whether “party switching” is mainly determined by power (to join a more influential party) or ideology (to join a party with closer policy goals). We focus on the 557 cases of political group switching in the European Parliament between 1979 and 2014. We find that most of these cases were from sm...
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What motivates politicians to engage in legislative activities? In multilevel systems politicians may be incentivized by ambitions to advance their careers either at the state or federal level. This article argues that the design of the electoral institutions influences how politicians respond to these incentives. Analyzing a unique dataset of both...
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This article presents a new survey of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) conducted during 2015, which adds to a time series of MEP surveys carried out by the European Parliament Research Group. The data allow for comparison of MEPs’ views with those of the EU public, European Parliament candidates, and members of national and regional parlia...
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Is there more sincere voting in multi-member districts than in single-member districts? Existing research on this question is inconclusive, at least in part because it is difficult with observational data to isolate the effect of district magnitude on voting behavior independently from voters’ preferences or number of parties. Hence, we investigate...
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The UK has influenced some major EU policies, such as the creation of the single market and enlargement. But how influential are the UK government and British MEPs in the day-to-day EU legislative process? To answer this question, this article analyses recent data from the Council of the European Union and the European Parliament. The evidence is m...
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This article develops a game-theoretical model of European Union (EU) policy making that suggests that the amount of legislative activity depends on the size of the gridlock interval. This is consistent with Krehbiel's study of US politics. This interval depends on two factors: (1) the preference configuration of the political actors and (2) the le...
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Abstract We use roll-call votes to examine the number,and content of the main dimensions of the policy space in several democratic parliaments.We look at fourteen parliaments, which include several cases of two main institutional designs: presidential or parliamentarysystems; and single-party or coalition government,systems. We apply a standard geo...
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Which parties benefit from open-list (as opposed to closed-list) proportional representation elections? This article shows that a move from closed-list to open-list competition is likely to be more favorable to parties with more internal disagreement on salient issues; this is because voters who might have voted for a unified party under closed lis...
Book
This chapterexamines political behavior and legislative politics in the European Parliament. It begins with a review of research findings on the political behavior of Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), focusing on the last decade or so. It considers the process of recruitment and election of the members of parliament and how this process af...
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We use roll-call voting data from 16 legislatures to investigate how the institutional context of politics – such as whether a country is a parliamentary or presidential regime, or has a single-party, coalition or minority government – shapes coalition formation and voting behaviour in parliaments. We use a geometric scaling metric to estimate the...
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Drawing on new data that combine recorded votes from the Swiss National Assembly with canton-level referendum results on identical legislative proposals, Portmann et al. (Public Choice 151:585–610, 2012) develop an innovative strategy to identify the effect of district magnitude on the relationship between representatives and their constituents. We...
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Political scientists have contributed to the world of electoral systems as scientists and as engineers. Taking stock of recent scientific research, we show that context modifies the effects of electoral rules on political outcomes in specific and systematic ways. We explore how electoral rules shape the inclusion of women and minorities, the depth...
Article
The European Parliament elections in May 2014 will be the most important such elections to date. In addition to providing European citizens with an opportunity to express their views about how the EU has tackled the Eurozone crisis, the elections will produce a new political majority in the European Parliament. With the new powers of the European P...
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Full-text available
Political scientists have contributed to the world of electoral systems as scientists and as engineers. Taking stock of recent scientific research, we show that context modifies the effects of electoral rules on political outcomes in specific and systematic ways. We explore how electoral rules shape the inclusion of women and minorities, the depth...
Chapter
Regional economic integration combines deregulation and re-regulation. The removal of trade barriers can be achieved by bilateral or multilateral agreements. However, the adoption of common rules requires agenda-setting and enforcement by supranational institutions. The lesson from the European Union is that supranational institutions, if designed...
Article
One of the most remarkable democratic developments in Europe in recent decades has been the empowerment of the only directly elected supranational assembly in the word: the European Parliament (EP). We first review the development of the legislative powers of the EP vis-à-vis the other European Union (EU) institutions, discussing the theoretical mo...
Article
We develop a game-theoretical model of European Union (EU) policy making which suggests that the amount of legislative activity depends on the size of the gridlock interval, consistent with Krehbiel’s (1998) study of US politics. This interval depends on two factors: (1) the preference configuration of the political actors; and (2) the legislative...
Article
This special report analyses legislative activity in the European Union and coalition formation in the European Parliament (EP) during the first half of the 7th legislative term, 2009-14. Co-decision is now the ordinary legislative procedure, not by name only: it was deployed on 90% of new proposals in 2010 and 86% in 2011, which suggests that the...
Article
In this paper, we seek to make two distinct contributions to knowledge about the EP. First, we introduce a significant new source of data about the parliament: provisional results from a new survey conducted of the parliament’s membership. We explain the overall purpose of the survey, its content, and how the survey instrument was implemented via t...
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This paper investigates the career paths of legislators in the European Parliament. Specifically, we examine how the link between the career trajectories of legislators and their legislative activities is moderated by electoral institutions. The European Parliament provides an excellent laboratory for addressing these issues because electoral and c...
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With the possibility of a referendum on British membership of the Euro some time in 2003 or 2004, the relevance of British public opinion on the Euro is obvious. ˚ There has been much public debate about whether Tony Blair could win a referendum despite opinion polls showing a widening gap between those opposed to membership and those in favor. How...
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This article analyses the role of the Commission in the European Union (EU). We present a game-theoretical model of two EU processes - Commission appointment and the adoption of legislation - and apply this model to the appointment of recent Commissions and their legislative programmes. Institutional reforms of the EU have led to more involvement o...
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As debt worries continue to shake the eurozone, Simon Hix looks at four possible scenarios for a European Union facing an existential crisis, and argues that a contested presidency provides the best hope of a more democratic approach to European politics.
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Cohesive government-vs-opposition voting is a robust empirical regularity in West-minster democracies. Using new data from the modern Scottish parliament we show that this pattern cannot be explained by similarity of preferences within or between the government and opposition ranks. We look at differences in the way that parties operate in Westmins...
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FOR Britons to be able to use their votes to signal their true preferences and for more people to feel they have had an influence on the outcome of a general election, when under our current system many voters have never voted for someone who got elected, is a welcome development. AV can be legitimately criticised either because it will probably...
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Can electoral rules be designed to achieve political ideals such as accurate representation of voter preferences, accountable governments, and strong economic performance? The academic literature commonly divides electoral systems into two types, majoritarian and proportional, and asserts that the choice between these implies a straightforward trad...
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Systematically revised and rewritten throughout and updated to cover the impact of the Lisbon Treaty, this highly-successful and ground-breaking text remains unique in analyzing the EU as a political system using the methods of comparative political science.
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After seven waves of European Parliament elections and European Union enlargement to 27 states, the time is ripe to analyse the temporal robustness of the second-order model. We pool all the elections in a single evaluation and also look at election-by-election variations. We analyse changes in party performance over time in all EU states as well a...
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Europe is united. This would have been unimaginable for my grandparents as they suffered though the bombing of London in the 1940s and witnessed the division of Europe in the Cold War.
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This article examines the making of monetary policy in the United Kingdom between 1997 and 2008 by analysing voting behaviour in the Bank of England's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC). It provides a new set of measures for the monetary policy preferences of individual MPC members by estimating a Bayesian item response model. The article demonstrates...
Article
For the first time in decades, voting reform is a real possibility in the UK. Simon Hix, Ron Johnston and Iain McLean outline the proposed changes. The Con–Lib coalition has put voting reform firmly on the agenda but will this really change how the House of Commons and the House of Lords work?Simon Hix, Ron Johnston and Iain McLean explore the prop...
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A growing literature looks at how the design of the electoral system shapes the voting behavior of politicians in parliaments. Existing research tends to confirm that in mixed-member systems the politicians elected in the single-member districts are more likely to vote against their parties than the politicians elected on the party lists. However,...
Article
The British Academy Policy Centre report on choosing an electoral system for the UK was launched on 10 March 2010. Its authors, Professor Simon Hix, Professor Ron Johnston FBA and Professor Iain McLean FBA, explain why it has turned out to be even more topical than it was when the Academy commissioned it.
Article
Regional economic integration is both a deregulatory project, involving the removal of barriers to the movement of goods and services, as well as a re-regulatory project, involving the adoption of common economic, social, and environmental standards to enable the market to function. The removal of trade barriers can be achieved by bilateral or mult...
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This article investigates the nature of party behaviour in the legislative arena in a developing democracy by undertaking a spatial analysis of voting in the Korean National Assembly. We discover the main dimensions of politics in the Korean parliament and look at how KNA members' ideological preferences, regional interests and the shift from divid...
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This paper explores empirically the role of party nomination pro-cedures in political selection. Using a new data set of Latin American parties, I find evidence of a positive relationship between the use of pri-maries, electoral performance and quality of government. I interpret these results as evidence of primaries improving political selection....
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We examined how voting behavior in the European Parliament changed after the European Union added ten new member-states in 2004. Using roll-call votes, we compared voting behavior in the first half of the Sixth European Parliament (July 2004–December 2006) with voting behavior in the previous Parliament (1999–2004). We looked at party cohesion, coa...
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Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) have voluntarily formed transnational political groups and invariably follow the voting instructions of these groups. This is intriguing as there are few obvious incentives for doing so. Unlike national parties, for example, the political groups in the European Parliament are not punished by the electorate...
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We present an automatically updatable database of background information about Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) from 1979 until the present. Although this information is already directly accessible through the European Parliament’s web page, it is presented in a manner that makes it ideal only for those interested in finding information abo...
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Endlich ein wenig Politik in der EU! Jahrzehntelang kam es den politischen Föhrern Europas gelegen so zu tun, als gebe es in Brüssel keine Politik. Entweder wollten sie nicht zugeben, dass sie in den politischen Debatten manchmal auf der Verliererseite standen, oder sie befürchteten, dass bestimmte Diskussionen die Unterstützung der EU weiter unter...
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The day after the European Parliament elections, on 8 June, most newspapers led with the story of ‘the rise of the extreme right’. Gert Wilder’s Party for Freedom came second in the Netherlands, picking up 4 seats. The British National Party won 2 seats: the first seats they had won in a national election. A new anti-gypsy party, Jobbik, won 3 seat...
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European Parliament elections have failed to produce an 'electoral connection' between European citizens and politics at the European level. Could changing the electoral system fix this problem? We believe that it could, at least partially. Changing the electoral rules would not resolve all the challenges facing the European Parliament. However, ev...
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The outcome of the European Parliament elections made majorities uncertain. The first sessions in July ended with a comprehensive deal by the three main party groups concerning important posts. The leading scholar Simon Hix assesses the likely political constellations in the 2009-14 European Parliament by linking existing research to the current po...
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Voter turnout could hit a record low in the June elections to the European Parliament, despite its powerful influence on our daily lives. Professor Simon Hix of the London School of Economics (LSE) suggests ways of making the election more than a mid-term vote on national governments.
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This research note provides an overview of the party political make-up of EU legislative bodies for the period 1979–2004 (Commission: 1979–2007) in terms of the left–right and pro-/anti-Europe dimensions. The various methods of measuring political positions are discussed and compared. Measures for the left–right dimension based on party manifestos...
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A decade ago parties were largely absent from research on and theories of EU politics. The role of parties is now a central part of the research agenda, particularly in the area of EU legislative politics. The new research on parties in EU politics has made significant theoretical contributions, led to the collection and dissemination of new datase...
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The European Union seems incapable of undertaking economic reforms and defining its place in the world. Public apathy towards the EU is also increasing, as citizens feel isolated from the institutions in Brussels and see no way to influence European level decisions. Taking a diagnosis and cure approach to the EU's difficulties, Simon Hix tackles th...
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The combination of parliamentary government and plurality elections in the British House of Commons is often assumed to produce highly cohesive parliamentary parties. However, the number and magnitude of backbench revolts against the governing party in the British Parliament has increased since the 1960s. The contention of this article is that part...
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The Constitutional Treaty, like each set of reforms since the Single European Act, would constitute another incremental increase in the European Parliament’s powers. But the Parliament did not get everything it wanted. What we do in this paper is investigate why the European Parliament tends to ‘win’ in some areas but not in others. We consider fiv...
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After six sets of European Parliament elections, do voters primarily use these elections to punish their national governments or to express their views on European issues? We answer this question by looking at all European elections (1979–2004) in all 25 EU states. We find that almost 40% of the volatility in party vote-shares in European elections...
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THE SINGLE EUROPEAN ACT AND THE MAASTRICHT TREATY attempted to balance two principles of representation in their redesign of the institutional structures of the European Union: the one, based on the indirect representation of publics through nationally elected governments in the European Council and Council of Ministers; the other, based on the dir...
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With the European Parliament comprising politicians from many different countries, cultures, languages, national parties and institutional backgrounds, one might expect politics in the Parliament to be highly-fragmented and unpredictable. By studying more than 12,000 recorded votes between 1979 and 2004 this 2007 book establishes that the opposite...
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In this article we examine the determinants of European Union (EU) migration policies. We look at the passage of six pieces of migration and immigrant integration legislation in the fifth European Parliament (1999–2004). Based on the sixty-one roll-call votes on these bills we create a “migration score” for each Member of the European Parliament. W...
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From a rational choice institutionalist perspective, Euroscepticism is little more than a set of preferences by citizens, parties and interest groups about institutional design in Europe. If actors’ expect policy outcomes to move closer to their ideal positions as a result of European integration, they will be Euro-enthusiastic (as many centrists a...
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1 Abstract The legislative powers of the European Parliament (EP) vary consid-erably across procedures. Resolutions adopted by the EP have no direct policy implications. The position of the EP matters in the codecision procedure. Existing research has been criticized for pooling across proce-dures. This paper compares voting behaviour in in these t...
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This paper investigates the nature of policy conflict in the Korean National Assembly via a spatial analysis of its members' voting. We discover the main dimensions of conflict and look at the impact of institutions and members' preferences on their reveal spatial locations. We find that Korean politics is both similar and unique compared to most d...
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Giandomenico Majone and Andrew Moravcsik have argued that the EU does not suffer a 'democratic deficit'. We disagree about one key element: whether a democratic polity requires contestation for political leadership and over policy. This aspect is an essential element of even the 'thinnest' theories of democracy, yet is conspicuously absent in the E...
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We investigate the dimensionality of politics in the European Parliament by applying a scaling method to all roll-call votes between 1979 and 2001 in the European Parliament. Contrary to most existing studies using these methods, we are able to interpret the substantive content of the observed dimensions using exogenous measures of national party p...