Seminar with Dr. Alexandra Cirone (London School of Economics)
The title of the presentation "Bridging the Gap: Lottery-based Procedures in Early Parliamentarization"
How is the use of political lotteries related to party development? We discuss a common pattern in lottery-based procedures used to distribute committee appointments in 19th century Europe, a key period of parliamentarization. We analyze in detail the effects of a political lottery in budget committee selection in the French Third Republic, using a micro-level dataset of French deputies from 1877 to 1914. Partial randomization resulted in the appointment of young, skilled, middle class deputies at the expense of influential elites. Once parties gained control of committee assignments in 1910, however, they once again favored elites and loyal party members in selection. We link this practice to party development by showing that cohesive parties were behind the institutional reform that ultimately dismantled this selection process. We also highlight their use in similar contexts of Imperial Germany (1871), Denmark (1848), Netherlands (1815), Austria (1875) and France (1870). Across Europe, lottery-based procedures thus played a ‘sanitizing’ role during the transformation of emerging parliamentary groups to unified, cohesive political parties.