The partisan context of parliamentary questions: a study of opposition behavior in the danish parliament

Rebecca Eissler, Christoffer Green-Pedersen, Matt W. Loftis, Peter B. Mortensen, Annelise Russell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


This paper investigates MPs’ questions in Denmark. The paper focuses on the role of the “partisan context” for their questioning behavior. This refers to three aspects. First, the status of the party in terms of government versus opposition. Second, it refers to the issues a party finds important to focus on, as measured by its party manifesto. Third, it refers to the role of individual MPs within the party, most importantly the issues to which the MP is connected, measured by their committee membership. We investigate the role of the partisan context based on a unique database consisting of more than 35,000 questions to the minister asked by Danish MPs from 2004 to 2013. The paper highlights two findings. First, that the Danish model of minority governments with support parties creates a particular structure which shapes the partisan context and thus question behavior. Second, the importance of specialization within political parties. Being your parties’ representative in a given committee is thus central to understanding on which issues an MP asks questions, but especially if the issue is important for your party.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)359-378
Number of pages20
JournalActa Politica
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, Springer Nature Limited.


  • Denmark
  • Opposition behaviour
  • Parliamentary questions
  • Party competition
  • Specialization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Political Science and International Relations


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