Party Competition Policy Positions European Parliament Applied Bayesian statistics
Gail McElroy & Kenneth Benoit, Party Policy and Group Affiliation in the European Parliament, British Journal of Political Science, 40, 2, 2010, 377 - 398
British Journal of Political Science 40 2
While much attention has been paid to party politics in the European Parliament (EP), systematic
empirical research has yet explained the basis on which national parties affiliate with the EP political
groups. Our paper addresses this lacuna in three ways. First, we use empirical measures on party
positions to demonstrate that EP party groups consist of national parties that share similar policy
positions. Second, we explain party group as driven by policy congruence, using Bayesian/MCMC
methods to estimate the policy determinants of group affiliation using a (conditional) multinomial
logit model. Finally, we use the predictions from the model to identify which national parties are
not in their “ideally congruent” EP groups. Data consist of an originally constructed dataset of
national party affiliation in EP groups at the time of the 2004 EP election and national political
party policy positions from expert surveys of party positions. Our findings suggest that national
party organization and switching into EP groups is driven mainly by a concern to minimize policy
incongruence between the national and transnational levels.
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