Legislative Power and the Representation of Ethnic Groups

In their 2014 article, Leslie Schwindt-Bayer and Peverill Squire show that the political power of legislatures can affect gender representativeness of legislatures. In the article they discuss likely mechanisms and suggests that the same result applies to ethnic groups. The argument is that in a legislature with more professional power, need to provide representatives with incentives to compensate for their investments like long sessions. These incentives, in turn, encourage incumbents to preserve their seats and discriminate against under-represented groups. Sounds reasonable enough, but ever since collecting information on the ethnic composition of legislatures worldwide, I have been keen to empirically check such claims.

I did so using the spreadsheet from the DICE Database and my own data on ethnic representation. This gives me 35 countries to have a quick look at the claim: there is no such correlation among the countries examined.


Ruedin, Didier. 2009. ‘Ethnic Group Representation in a Cross-National Comparison’. The Journal of Legislative Studies 15 (4): 335–54. doi:10.1080/13572330903302448.

———. 2010. ‘The Relationship between Levels of Gender and Ethnic Group Representation’. Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism 10 (2): 92–106. doi:10.1111/j.1754-9469.2010.01066.x.

———. 2013. Why Aren’t They There? The Political Representation of Women, Ethnic Groups and Issue Positions in Legislatures. Colchester: ECPR Press.

Schwindt-Bayer, Leslie, and Peverill Squire. 2014. ‘Legislative Power and Women’s Representation’. Politics & Gender 10 (4): 622–658. doi:10.1017/S1743923X14000440.

Swiss Immigration and Integration Policies since 1848

mipex1848I’m very excited to announce a new publication outlining Swiss immigration and integration policies since 1848 (yes, that’s 167 years’ worth of data). We use the latest version of the MIPEX questionnaire to trace how immigration and integration policies have developed since the inception of modern Switzerland in 1848. Policies are covered in 7 areas and a total of 148 indicators, with the situation at the national level recorded for every year.

This gives us a more accurate picture of how policies have changed over time than previous efforts, including a limited extension of the MIPEX data to 1995 undertaken as part of the SOM project.

I’m also very happy to announce that the full data are already available, including a detailed description outlining the reasoning and decisions behind the scores.

In the paper we provide a first description of the data: an assessment of Swiss immigration and integration policies at the national level in a systematic and truly historical manner. Three periods of policies are identified; we refer to these as expansive, restricting, and expanding. Indeed, if immigration and integration policies are captured in a broad and multidimensional way, we can see that the highly politicized direct democratic decisions in the past few years have not (yet) had a major impact on Swiss policy. In recent years the expansion of rights seems to have slowed, perhaps stalled, but there is no evidence of overall more restrictive policies.

Ruedin, D., Alberti, C. and D’Amato, G. (2015), Immigration and Integration Policy in Switzerland, 1848 to 2014. Swiss Political Science Review. doi: 10.1111/spsr.12144