This book sheds new light on the often shadowy, but essential role of committees, which exist in modern parliaments around the globe, and it questions the conventional notion that the ‘real’ work of parliament happens in committees.
Renowned country specialists take a close look at what goes on in committees and how it matters for policy making. While committees are seen as the central place where policy is made, they often hold their sessions closed to the public and calls for transparency are growing. To understand this "black box" it is necessary to look within but also beyond the walls of the committee rooms and parliament buildings. Bringing together formal and informal aspects, rules and practices shows that committees are not a paradise of policy making. They have great relevance nonetheless: as crystallization points in the policy networks, as drivers for division of labor and for socialization and the integration of MPs.
The new insights presented in this book will be of interest to scholars, students and professionals in parliamentary affairs, legislative studies, government, and comparative politics. They are also relevant for political analysts, journalists, and policymakers.
Table of Contents
1. Investigating the role of parliamentary committees in the policy process
Sven T. Siefken and Hilmar Rommetvedt
2. A black box that deserves more light: Comparative findings on parliamentary committees in the policy process
Sven T. Siefken and Hilmar Rommetvedt
3. Assess – to Assist: A preliminary analysis of committees in Arab parliaments
4. The role of parliamentary committees and legislative agreements in party bargaining during minority government in Denmark
Flemming Juul Christiansen and Henrik Jensen
5. Committees in the Finnish Eduskunta: Cross-party cooperation and legislative scrutiny behind closed doors
6. Twenty years of attempts at reforming committees: A tale of reforms missing the mark at the French National Assembly
7. No paradise of policy making: The role of parliamentary committees in the German Bundestag
Sven T. Siefken
8. From ‘a rubber stamp’ to influencing policy: A critical view of committees in the parliament of Ghana
9. Parliamentary committees in the Hungarian Parliament: Instruments of political parties and government agenda control
10. Strength and weakness: Legislative and oversight powers of the parliamentary committee system in Israel
11. Japan's unusual but interesting parliament committees: An arena and transformative model?
Ellis S. Krauss and Kuniaki Nemoto
12. Exploring the gap between theory and practice in law-making and oversight by committees of the Nigerian National Assembly
13. Norwegian parliamentary committees: Split and sidelined in the policy process
14. Committees in a party-dominated parliament: The Spanish Congreso de los Diputados
Pablo Oñate and Bernabé Aldeguer
15. Parliamentary Committees in the Grand National Assembly of Turkey, 2002 to 2020
Ömer Faruk Gençkaya
16. The role of legislative committees in the policy process: The case of the Ukrainian parliament
Irina Khmelko, Oleksii Bruslyk and Liudmyla Vasylieva
17. Still deviant? The development and reform of the UK House of Commons committee system, 1979 to present
Stephen Holden Bates, Louise Thompson, Mark Goodwin and Stephen McKay
18. "Specially-commissioned minorities": committee governance and political parties in the United States Congress
Anne Marie Cammisa
"This book addresses one of the most important issues in the field of legislative studies – parliamentary committees. Not enough books have looked into this topic, and it has been quite a few years since the last one. The fact that the centrality of parliamentary committees in policy-making is not assumed but investigated is a strength, and the team assembled to cover each country is impressive. A common framework for analysis implemented in the country cases creates a cohesiveness that is lacking in most cross-country edited volumes. This book offers a useful, original and important contribution."
Reuven Y. Hazan, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Israel.
"Parliamentary Committees in the Policy Process provides a close view of committee members, organization and functions in 12 countries, ranging from the stable to the episodic, from the large to the small, and from one hemisphere to the other. This book’s multi-dimensional view of committee members and policy functions within a changing and complex institutional structure will be a basic platform for future research on ubiquitous and variable legislative committees in parliaments around the world."
David M. Olson, UNC Greensboro, USA.