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The Ideological Cohesion of Parliamentary Parties and Its Implications for Decision-Making in Modern Democracies

Comparing cohesion in political parties on the basis of parliamentary debates across European countries.
The project is funded by Riksbankens Jubileumsfond.

Political scientists often treat parties as “unitary actors”. In most cases, however, parties represent divergent interests. This project aims at measuring the degree of intra-party cohesion in political parties in different countries, and at exploring the causes and consequences of intra-party cohesion.

We explain varying levels of intra-party cohesion by for example taking the country’s institutionella system and parties’ internal organizational structure into account. Moreover, the project explores some of the manifold implications that intra-party cohesion, or its opposite, intra-party heterogeneity, is likely to have on political decision-making, for example on the allocation of ministerial offices. In this project, we analyze data drawn from a sample of European countries.

The main source of information for the project is the speeches made by members of Parliament, and these speeches are analyzed by applying computerized methods of content analysis.


Page Manager:

Researchers on the project

Hanna Bäck, project leader

Project collaborators:

  • Wolfgang C. Müller, University of Vienna, Wolfgang [dot] mueller [at] univie [dot] ac [dot] at
  • Marc Debus, University of Mannheim, marc [dot] debus [at] uni-mannheim [dot] de  


Department of Political Science
Lund University
Visiting address: Paradisgatan 5H (House: Eden)
Postal address: Box 52, SE-221 00 LUND
Telephone: +46 46-222 89 52

Faculty of Social Sciences