Can Formal Rules of Order be Used as an Accurate Proxy for Behaviour Internal to a Legislature? Evidence from Costa Rica Academic Article uri icon


  • Scholars rely heavily on formal rules to classify legislatures, but parchment institutions may only tell part of the story about how the chamber works. Behind-the-scenes behaviour may counter-balance or temper the power distribution created by formal rules. To begin examining if formal rules are an accurate predictor of actual behaviour, we analyse standing committees in Costa Rica's Legislative Assembly. We find that despite the formal institutions that favour a majoritarian bonus, the opposition party is a full participant in the legislative process in committee sessions. Opposition deputies participate equally or more so than majority party deputies, and deputies of all parties work together to investigate bills and kill legislation evaluated to be flawed, which indicates that formal rules are only one component to understanding legislative behaviour. 2011 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Taylor-Robinson, M. M., & Ross, A. D.

citation count

  • 3

complete list of authors

  • Taylor-Robinson, Michelle M||Ross, Ashley D

publication date

  • January 2011