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Rules and Speeches: How Parliamentary Rules Affect Legislators’ Speech-Making Behavior

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Authors: Daniela Giannetti and Andrea Pedrazzani

Published: Legislative Studies Quarterly 2016

Abstract: By extending existing theories of legislative speech making, this study explores the importance of parliamentary rules governing floor debates for government and opposition parties. An original data set including speeches of members of the Italian Chamber of Deputies between 2001 and 2006 is used to test two hypotheses under different institutional scenarios, that is, rules either restricting or granting open access to the floor. Parliamentary rules are found to affect allocation of speaking time within both governing and opposition parties. Governing parties’ leaders exploit their agenda control to a higher degree when allocating speaking time. Under restrictive rules, government party leaders control their MPs by essentially limiting the number of speeches and allocating them to frontbenchers. Restrictive rules give opposition party leaders an important chance to select MPs who are closer to their own position.