Immigration-related Speechmaking in a Party-constrained Parliament: Evidence from the ‘Refugee Crisis’ of the 18th German Bundestag (2013–2017)

Faculty/Professorship: Comparative Politics  
Author(s): Geese, Lucas 
Title of the Journal: German Politics
ISSN: 1743-8993
Publisher Information: London : Taylor and Francis
Year of publication: 2019
Issue: Published online: 11 Jan 2019
Pages: Online-Ressource
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1080/09644008.2019.1566458
The 18th Bundestag term was marked by a high salience of the refugee and asylum issue dominating the political agenda. Taking this context as a case study, this paper asks which factors make legislators talk about immigration on the parliamentary floor. Three different literatures provide different answers to this question. A first literature highlights that immigrant-origin legislators with a visible background may have intrinsic motives to talk about immigration. A second literature raises attention to legislators’ personal vote-seeking incentives to talk about immigration when the issue is electorally decisive. Contrary to these first two literatures, a third literature posits that legislative debates do not provide legislators the leeway to follow individual motives on the parliamentary floor, but that parliamentary party groups (PPGs) control access to the parliamentary floor and thus follow own strategies when allocating floor time to speak about the immigration issue. To examine this puzzle of competing expectations, a corpus of more than 10,000 speeches is leveraged, utilising a structural topic model, a novel method of quantitative text analysis. Results suggest that legislators’ speech attention to the refugee and asylum issue in the 18th Bundestag was mainly shaped by PPG specific factors rather than by their individual motives.
Keywords: Parlamentarische Reden, Politische Repräsentation, Immigration, Bundestag
Peer Reviewed: Ja
International Distribution: Ja
Type: Article
Year of publication: 18. January 2019