Content matters: The dynamics of parliamentary questioning in Belgium and Denmark

Rens Vliegenthart*, Stefaan Walgrave

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

104 Citations (Scopus)


Why do MPs devote attention to some issues while ignoring others? The question of the issue content of parliamentary activities has been neglected in previous research. The authors use longitudinal data on parliamentary questioning in Belgium and Denmark, two similar European democracies. The analyses show that the questioning behavior of MPs is structured according to clear patterns. Opposition parties ask more questions in general. MPs tend to focus on the issues the government parties have put forward as being important. Furthermore, MPs ask more questions about issues the media have paid attention to and about issues their party cares about and identifies with. In their questioning, opposition MPs are more strongly influenced by issue ownership and media coverage. The Belgian and Danish MPs follow largely the same pattern.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1031-1059
Number of pages29
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • agenda setting
  • Belgium
  • Denmark
  • parliamentary control
  • Question Time


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