Impromptu : discussion around the book "Pourquoi détestons-nous autant nos politiques"

Seminar organised by LIEPP-Maxpo-CEE, March 22nd 2017 4:30 pm - 6:00 pm
  • LIEPP-Sciences PoLIEPP-Sciences Po

LIEPPle MaxPo and CEE organize an event “Impromptu” : un débat autour du livre d'Emiliano Grossman et Nicolas Sauger, “Pourquoi détestons-nous autant nos politiques ?

Wednesday March 22nd 2017, 16:30 - 18:00

Salle de séminaire du LIEPP conference room

254 boulevard Saint-Germain, 75007 Paris

Register here

Discutants : 

  • Anne Levade (Professeure de droit public à l'Université Paris Est)
  • Gérard Grunberg (Directeur de recherche au CNRS émérite, Centre d'études européennes-Sciences Po)


Approaches to Understanding the Quality of Legislation

Seminar with Dr. Ruth Dixon, Thursday March 23rd 2017 6 pm - 8 pm
  • LIEPP Sciences PoLIEPP Sciences Po

Approaches to Understanding the Quality of Legislation

LIEPP's Evaluation of Democracy Research Group and médialab, are glad to invite you to the seminar with Dr. Ruth Dixon :

Thursday March 23rd 2017, 6 pm - 8 pm

Room médialab, 13 rue de l'Université, 75007 

Entry is free with limited seatings

Please click on the link below to register




The legislation of a country underpins its efforts to support the rule of law. The body of legislation should therefore be fit for this purpose, conforming as far as possible to theoretical principles of ‘good’ legislation. But there have been few empirical studies of objective qualities of legislation. In this presentation I explore some ways of addressing this question and describe a novel approach. 

One approach is to look at the language of legislation (e.g. Williams, 2016) and another is to look at the extent to which the legislation itself gives rise to litigation, for instance via judicial review. A third approach is to focus on the parliamentary process itself. In our study of the changing face of UK government (Hood and Dixon, 2015), Christopher Hood and I assembled qualitative and quantitative evidence of how the process of legislation changed over the past thirty to forty years in the UK, and assessed whether those changes tended to support the production of ‘good legislation.’ 

One aspect of that study was to measure how often laws are amended as they pass through the parliamentary process. We reasoned that if legislation is presented to Parliament in an incomplete or unsatisfactory state, a large number of late-stage amendments will be needed to ‘repair’ the legislation, to the detriment of fully informed scrutiny by legislators. For that study, we were only able to count by hand the amendments to a limited number of laws. In extending that study I developed, with Jonathan Jones, a semi-automated method for quantifying legislative amendments (outlined in Dixon, 2016). In this presentation I will describe the development of that methodology and our preliminary results.


Dr Ruth Dixon is a researcher at the Blavatnik School of Government and an associate member of the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford. Her early career was in the life sciences. From 1992 to 2001 she was a senior scientist and University Research Lecturer at the MRC Biochemical and Clinical Magnetic Resonance Unit, University of Oxford. After a career break, Ruth worked from 2006 to 2013 at the Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford, funded by the ESRC and the Leverhulme Trust. Ruth studies aspects of British public administration, and her recent book with Christopher Hood, A Government that Worked Better and Cost Less? Evaluating Three Decades of Reform and Change in UK Central Government, (Oxford University Press, 2015), won the 2015 Louis Brownlow Book Award from the American National Academy of Public Administration, and the 2016 W.J.M. MacKenzie Book Prize from the Political Studies Association.

Réévaluer le Parlement ? La révision constitutionnelle du 23 juillet 2008 à l’épreuve du temps

Workshop on Friday December 16th 2016
  • CC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Assemblee Nationale by paige_eliz on FlickrCC BY-NC-ND 2.0 Assemblee Nationale by paige_eliz on Flickr

Réévaluer le Parlement ? La révision constitutionnelle du 23 juillet 2008

à l’épreuve du temps

L'axe "Evaluation de la démocratie" du LIEPP a le plaisir de vous convier à cette journée d'étude le :

Vendredi 16 décembre 2016, 9h30 -12h30

Salle de séminaire du LIEPP

1er étage, 254 boulevard Saint Germain, 75007 Paris

Entrée libre dans la limite des places disponibles.

Inscription obligatoire. 

Merci de vous inscrire en cliquant sur le lien suivant.

Retrouvez le Working Paper du LIEPP sur l’évaluation de la révision constitutionnelle de 2008.


Présentation :

La révision constitutionnelle fut, quantitativement, la plus importante de l’histoire de la Ve République avec la modification de plus de la moitié des articles de la Constitution. Pourtant, cette réforme n’a pas modifié les fondamentaux du régime : élection directe du Président, pouvoirs du Président vis-à-vis du Premier ministre et de l’Assemblée nationale, responsabilité parlementaire du gouvernement. Par ailleurs, un aperçu rapide des mesures phares de cette réforme permet de saisir son caractère contradictoire : extension du droit du Parlement s’agissant de la procédure législative ou du contrôle des nominations mais limitation inédite des capacités d’obstruction de l’opposition. Aussi l’évaluation de l’impact de cette réforme s’impose-t-elle en 2015, alors qu’une alternance a permis d’en éprouver la pratique.

Cette journée d'étude présentera l'évaluation de la révision constitutionnelle des points de vue interdisciplinaire des politistes, juristes et les praticiens alliant une diversité de méthodologies. 

Organisation : Guillaume TUSSEAU & Olivier ROZENBERG

Consultez le programme de la journée. 

Strengthening Parliaments

3-4 December, 2015
  • CC BY 2.0_Armel Le Coz_on_FlickrCC BY 2.0_Armel Le Coz_on_Flickr




a conference organised by

PADEMIA / Centre d'études européennes / LIEPP

December 3-4, 2015

Salle Goguel

Sciences Po , 27 rue Saint Guillaume, 75007 Paris

Conference Summary:

During the two day conference, 25 scholars from all across Europe discussed the politics, features and evaluation of institutional reforms aimes at strengthening parliaments. Of many discussed topics were: Why do those reforms tend to be more numerous all around Europe? How are they developed, realized and implemented? And, what are their consequences? Case studies from many countries (Iceland, Israel, Spain, Finland, UK, France...) made clear that beyond idiosyncratic features, institutional engineering reforms face similar challenges and processes, especially the fitness between the reforms and good practices on the one hand, and MPs' individual interests on the other. Institutional development paths also matter for adopting successfully parliamentary reforms. In the end, the great interest of the workshop confirms that the issue of reforms in parliament and institutional engineering tend to be increasingly central to the attention of the scientific community.

Conference theme:

Institutional Engineering refers to various changes in the organizational rules established with a precise aim. In the case of parliaments and parliamentary democracy, institutional engineering therefore accounts for the efforts made in order to strengthen parliaments. In most cases, the change of rules takes place at a constitutional level through amendments to the Constitution but it can also be realized at a lower stage such as ordinary laws or standing orders.

The workshop originates from the observation that many of recent or on-going institutional engineering reforms officially aim at empowering, if not restoring, parliaments within their institutional system. This has not always been the case. Throughout the 20th century, many constitutional changes aimed at strengthening the executive power decisional capacity by implementing various ways of rationalizing parliaments. Converging examples from the control over military operations to the budgetary powers of the parliament indicate that this is seemingly no longer the case. In developed democracies but also elsewhere, many institutional reforms officially aim at deepening parliamentary democracies. Yet, other institutional reforms can be driven by other aims, for instance controlling budgetary deficits, adapting to a country’s participation to regional organizations, strengthening judicial review or transparency, implementing better regulation agendas, etc. The multiplicity of agendas for institutional reforms inevitably raises the issue of the coherence and compatibility between them.

The workshop addresses classical questions to that trend: ‘why and how?’ ‘so what?’

1. With the ‘why?’ and ‘how?’ issues, we aim at entering into the politics of institutional engineering. Why are constitutional or standing orders reforms affecting legislatures launched? In which political contexts? Are those reforms more likely when national parliaments are comparatively weaker? What is the input provided by regional organizations, international treaties and transnational organizations from the OECD to the Inter-Parliamentary Union?

The point also requires to address the specific role played individually and collectively by MPs in the process. Are agendas for institutional reforms decided thanks to their pressure and initiatives? Or are they imposed by external actors such as ministers, judges, legal scholars, etc.?

2. The workshop also holds the ambition to assess the effects of institutional engineering. At the end of day, does changing the rules really impact on the legislatures’ role? We know that there could be many factors contributing to limit or cancel the effects of such reforms: the weight of inherited institutional routines, the lack of relevance of an institutional agenda from an MP interest based perspective, the lacking fit of institutional transfers given domestic idiosyncrasies, etc. Many claims can be put for explaining the absence of change. Yet, there are cases where a change of rules does impact on political behavior and even policy outputs even if it is sometimes the case indirectly or unexpectedly. Why do some reforms succeed and others not? Does their impact depend on the quality of the ‘engineer’ or on the capacity of MPs to adapt?

The evaluation of institutional engineering reforms can also be made from the perspective of the legislatures’ influence. Given the multiplicity of the official aims addressed by the reforms, and their possible inconsistency, which kind of reforms - or which mixture – eventually contributes to empower legislatures? Beyond the assessment of a specific case, is institutional engineering able to fight back against the centennial trend of domination of the executive power?

ConvenersSelma Bendjaballah, Olivier Rozenberg, Guillaume Tusseau.


Strategic Voting in Two-vote Elections

12 March
Seminar "Evaluation of Democracy"
  • CC BY-NC-SA 2.0 - photo by Ahmed Abdel-fatah on FlickrCC BY-NC-SA 2.0 - photo by Ahmed Abdel-fatah on Flickr

Strategic Voting in Two-vote Elections

Thursday 12 March 2015


Salle D605

Sciences Po, 199 rue bd St. Germain, 75007 Paris

Free entrance with limited seating available

Please register here to confirm your attendance

Seminar organised by Nicolas Sauger and Emiliano Grossman within the Research Group «Evaluation of Democracy».

The political scientist, Philipp Harfst (Universität Greifswald Institut für Politik) is visiting Sciences Po CEE/LIEPP for March 2015 and will present the results of his research on strategic voting in two-vote elections. Professor Harfst studies the effects of different electoral rules on electoral behaviour, analysing the impact of two-vote elections on strategic voting. Following his presentation, his results will be discussed by Nicolas Sauger (CEE/LIEPP) and Emiliano Grossman (CEE/LIEPP).

Philipp Harfst

Philipp Harfst
Junior Professor of Political Science, University of Greifswald

« Strategic Voting in Two-vote Elections »


Discussion by:

Nicolas Sauger
Associate Professor and Co-Director of the LIEPP «Evaluation of Democracy» Research Group (Sciences Po, CEE/LIEPP)

Emiliano Grossman
Associate Professor and Co-Director of the LIEPP «Evaluation of Democracy» Research Group (Sciences Po, CEE/LIEPP)