Institutional Variation, Balance of Power and Agenda Control: Evidence from the Argentine Subnational Legislatures



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This research investigates how patterns of legislative competition (i.e. partisan fragmentation and the majority/plurality party) are likely to affect the effect of rules and practices that govern the legislative process.

These different patterns of legislative competition, I argue, will have an impact on the agenda-setting prerogatives of majority, plurality and minority parties; determining which bill initiatives are given consideration by the plenary floor and will win final approval in a state legislature. That is, my research will show how the gatekeeping prerogatives of majority, plurality, and minority parties; affect the relative success of individual legislators and the type of state's legislation being approved.

The data to test these hypotheses come from a promising yet unexplored source: the local legislatures of Argentina's provinces over a twenty five year period, 1984-2009. My research will not only contribute to the literature on comparative legislatures but also to the knowledge of subnational legislative success in federal countries.

I expect my research to show that changes in the partisan environment within local legislatures shapes the selection and use of gatekeeping prerogatives by majority parties e.g. distribution of authority posts and committee assignments. To explore the ability of the majority, plurality, and minority parties to set the legislative agenda, I distinguish rates of introduction and success by type of party, legislative bloc, and year (1983 to 2009). I expect variation in the partisan make-up of the legislation reaching the floor to provide critical information on the use of gatekeeping institutions by majority, plurality, and majority parties.

The findings generated in this project will contribute to the discipline by furthering our understanding of subnational legislative politics in federal polities. Moreover, this project will disentangle institutional and contextual determinants of legislative success, which are critical to understand the organization of local legislatures. The data collected for this project will prove a valuable contribution to future scholars interested in furthering comparative legislative studies. Such research should also prove valuable to assess the performance of legislative bodies and improve the levels of transparency and accountability in emerging democracies.



Legislative politics, Agenda control, Subnational, Argentina