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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Dimensions of Politics in the European Parliament

  • Author(s): Hix, Simon
  • Noury, Abdul
  • Roland, Gerard
  • et al.
Abstract

We investigate the dimensionality of political conflict in the European Parliament by applying scaling method techniques to all roll-call votes between 1979 and 2001 in the European Parliament. Contrary to most existing studies using scaling methods, we are able to interpret the substantive content of the observed dimensions using exogenous measures of national party policy positions. We find that the main dimension of politics in the EU’s only elected institution is the classic left-right dimension found in domestic politics. A second dimension is also present, although to a lesser extent, which is explained by conflicts between the parties in ‘government’ in the EU Council and Commission and the parties in ‘opposition’ in the Parliament.

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