Skip to main content
Kent Academic Repository

The Life and Times of Bills

Becker, Rolf and Saalfeld, Thomas (2004) The Life and Times of Bills. In: Döring, Herbert and Hallerberg, Mark, eds. Patterns of Parliamentary Behaviour. Ashgate Publishing, Aldershot, UK, pp. 57-90. ISBN 0-19-829760-2. (The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided) (KAR id:955)

The full text of this publication is not currently available from this repository. You may be able to access a copy if URLs are provided.


Time is one of the scarcest resources in modern parliaments. In parliamentary systems of government the control of time in the chamber is a significant power resource enjoyed – to varying degrees – by parliamentary majorities and the governments they support. Minorities may not be able to muster enough votes to stop bills, but they may have – varying degrees of – delaying powers enabling them to extract concessions from majorities attempting to get on with their overall legislative programme. This paper provides a comparative analysis of the dynamics of the legislative process in 17 West European parliaments from the formal initiation of bills to their promulgation. The ‘biographies’ of a sample of bills are examined using techniques of event-history analysis (a) charting the dynamics of the legislative process both across the life-times of individual bills and different political systems and (b) examining whether, and to what extent, parliamentary rules and some general regime attributes influence the dynamics of this process, speeding up or delaying the passage of legislation. Using a veto-points framework and transaction cost politics as a theoretical framework, the quantitative analyses suggest a number of counter-intuitive findings (e.g., the efficiency of powerful committees) and cast doubt on some of the claims made by Tsebelis in his veto-player model.

Item Type: Book section
Uncontrolled keywords: Legislation, Western Europe, parliaments, efficiency of parliaments, political institutions
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JN Political institutions and public administration (Europe)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Politics and International Relations
Depositing User: Alison Webster
Date Deposited: 19 Dec 2007 18:37 UTC
Last Modified: 16 Nov 2021 09:39 UTC
Resource URI: (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

University of Kent Author Information

Saalfeld, Thomas.

Creator's ORCID:
CReDIT Contributor Roles:
  • Depositors only (login required):

Total unique views for this document in KAR since July 2020. For more details click on the image.