Parliamentary Questions as an Instrument for Geographic Representation: The Hard Case of Portugal

Enrico Borghetto, José Santana-Pereira, André Freire

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15 Citations (Scopus)
46 Downloads (Pure)


This article asks whether and why, in a system lacking electoral incentives to cultivate personal votes, MPs might choose to signal to geographic constituents. It explores this question by analysing the number of written parliamentary questions submitted to the Portuguese parliament on two issues – unemployment and crime – between 2009 and 2015, and asking if MPs are more inclined to table questions on specific issues when their districts suffer particularly from related problems. The article finds evidence that constituency-level problem pressure does matter for the signalling activities of MPs, although policy specialization remains the main driver of their issue emphasis. This finding contributes new knowledge to the ongoing debate on the factors accounting for the representative relationship between MPs and constituents, by drawing attention to the importance of district-level problem pressure as one of the drivers of issue sponsorship in parliament.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10-30
Number of pages21
JournalSwiss Political Science Review
Issue number1
Early online date1 Jan 2020
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • geographic representation
  • issue attention
  • legislative behaviour
  • Parliamentary questions
  • Portugal


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