My main areas of research and teaching are comparative democratic institutions, especially voting in parliaments and electoral system design, and European Union politics and the design of regional integration.
Websites and Datasets
www.VoteWatch.eu. Tracking voting in the European
Parliament and the EU Council.
Electoral system design data (John Carey
and Simon Hix)
Evidence to Parliament
(with Iain McLean) Evidence to the Joint Committee of the Commons and Lords on the Draft House of Lords Reform Bill, 23 September 2011
Media and Public Engagement
Letter to The Economist on the battle for Commission President in 2014, 20 February 2014
Debate in European Parliament London Office on "The
Future of the EU", 3 June 2013
Latest Working Papers (see more)
Jack Blumenau, Andy Eggers, Dominik Hangartner and Simon Hix, What Would be the Impact of Changing the Voting System in European Elections? (slide presentation of research and key findings, 24 July 2014). We conducted an on-line survey experiment to look at the potential impact of introducing an "open-list" electoral system in European Parliament elections in the UK. One of the key findings is that such a system would lead to many Eurosceptic citizens to vote for a Eurosceptic candidate rather than for UKIP, which they would do under the current (closed-list) system.
Christophe Crombez and Simon Hix, Legislative Activity and Gridlock in the European Union (version 5 May 2013). This paper looks at legislative activity in the European Union. We develop a game-theoretic model of EU policy making which suggests that EU legislative activity depends on the size of the "gridlock interval". This interval depends on two factors: (1) the preference configuration of the political actors; and (2) the legislative procedures in a particular period. We also develop a method for measuring the size of the gridlock interval in the EU and find empirical support for our theory in an analysis of EU legislative activity between 1979 and 2009.
Simon Hix and Abdul Noury, Government-Opposition or Left-Right? The Institutional Determinants of Voting in Legislatures (version 7 March 2013). We use roll-call voting data from 16 legislatures to investigate how the institutional context of politics - such as whether a country is a parliamentary or presidential regime, or has a single-party, coalition or minority government - shapes coalition formation and voting behaviour in parliaments. We use a geometric scaling metric to estimate the 'revealed space' in each of these legislatures and regression analysis to identify how much of this space can be explained by government-opposition dynamics as opposed to (left-right) policy positions of parties. We find that government-opposition interests rather than parties' policy positions are the main drivers of voting behaviour in most institutional contexts. In contrast, we find that issue-by-issue coalition-building along a single policy dimension only exists under restrictive institutional constraints; namely presidential regimes with coalition governments or parliamentary systems with minority governments. Put another way, voting in most legislatives is more like Westminster than Washington, DC.
Simon Hix, Abdul Noury and
Is there a
Strategic Selection Bias in Roll Call Votes? Evidence from the European
Parliament (version 3 May 2013). This
paper looks at the magnitude and significance of "selection bias" in
roll call votes . Prior to 2009, all roll call votes (RCVs) in the
European Parliament had to be requested by political groups. Since 2009,
an RCV has been required in all final legislative votes. We exploit this
rule change and compare differences between final legislative votes and
other votes before and after the change, using a
difference-in-differences approach . Using data from the first 18 months
of EP6 (2004-09) and EP7 (2009-14), we failed to find ANY significant
difference in the level of voting cohesion for the main political
groups. These results suggest selection biases in RCVs due to strategic
choices are at best negligible.
Recent Academic Articles (see more)
Simon Hix and Bjørn Høyland (2013) ‘Empowerment of the European Parliament’, Annual Review of Political Science 16: 171-189. (pdf)
John Carey and Simon Hix (2013) ‘District Magnitude and Representation of the Majority’s Preferences: A Comment and Reinterpretation’, Public Choice 154(1-2) 139-148. (pdf)
Simon Hix, Roger Scully and David Farrell (2012) ‘National or European Parliamentarians? Evidence from a New Survey of the Members of the European Parliament’, Journal of Common Market Studies 50(4) 670-683. (pdf)
Simon Hix (2011) ‘Where is the EU Going? Collapse, Fiscal Union, a Supersized Switzerland, or a new Democratic Politics’, Public Policy Research (journal of the IPPR), 18(2) 81-7. (pdf)
Christophe Crombez and Simon Hix (2011) 'Treaty Reform and the Commission's Appointment and Policy Making Role in the European Union', European Union Politics, 12(3) 291-314. (pdf)
John Carey and Simon Hix (2011) 'The Electoral Sweet Spot: Low-Magnitude Proportional Electoral Systems', American Journal of Political Science 55(2) 383-339. (pdf)
Simon Hix and Michael Marsh (2011) 'Second-Order Effects Plus Pan-European Political Swings: An Analysis of European Parliament Elections Across Time', Electoral Studies, 30(1) 4-15. (pdf)
Simon Hix, Bjorn Hoyland and Nick Vivyan (2010) 'From Doves to Hawks: A Spatial Analysis of Voting in the Monetary Policy Committee of the Bank of England', European Journal of Political Research, 49(6) 731-758. (pdf)
Hae-Won Jun and Simon Hix (2010) 'Electoral Systems, Political Career Paths and Legislative Behavior: Evidence from South Korea's Mixed-Member System', Japanese Journal of Political Science 11(2) 153-171. (pdf) (Replication files)
Simon Hix, Ron Johnston and Iain McLean (2010) Choosing an Electoral System, London: British Academy. (pdf)