Article

Working Through the Issues -How Issue Salience and Diversity Condition the Impact of Ideological Disagreement on Coalition Duration.

Authors:
To read the full-text of this research, you can request a copy directly from the author.

Abstract

Issue salience and diversity direct a range of outcomes such as voting behavior and public policy. Studies, however, have yet to fully integrate theoretical or empirical expectations for the effect of issue salience on coalition stability. By focusing on the mechanism linking parties’ preferences to policy-making, I propose that parties with more diverse platforms provide coalitions greater room to negotiate, whereas parties focusing on a small number of issues exacerbate ideological tensions. Issue diversity becomes important once parties exhaust opportunities to make the initial, easy policy compromises. Using evidence from 299 coalitions in 24 European countries, I find that issue diversity in parties’ platforms moderates the effect of disagreement. Using a non-proportional hazard analysis, I find that the effect of issue diversity varies over the coalition’s lifecycle. Governments with parties willing to negotiate over a larger range of issues decrease the risk that disagreements will result in coalition termination.

No full-text available

Request Full-text Paper PDF

To read the full-text of this research,
you can request a copy directly from the author.

... The concept of issue diversity has been employed to analyze the relationship between public opinion and the breath of topics covered party leaders' rhetoric (Hobolt and Klemmensen, 2008) and party manifestos (Greene, 2016) as well as the electoral success of incumbents and opposition parties (Greene, 2018). Moreover, it has been demonstrated that issue diversity in party platforms moderates ideological conflict in coalition negotiations and is associated with increased coalition stability (Greene, 2017). ...
... It is thus distinct from polarization, which refers to the extent to which voters or parties diverge on an ideological dimension. The concept of issue diversity has been applied to analyze the extent to which parties in government and opposition focus on issue sets of different size (Hobolt and Klemmensen, 2008), the durability of coalitions (Greene, 2017), differences between government and opposition parties in electoral competition (Greene, 2018) and the effects of the core functions of the executive (Jennings and Palau, 2011). ...
... We would thus expect that the impact of polarization on the quality of the democratic process at the public will formation stage is moderated by issue diversity -or the extent to which voters perceive the same or different issues as most important. As mentioned above, Greene finds that an increase in issue diversity is associated with more negotiation success and coalition survival, even in the case of ideological heterogeneous coalitions (Greene, 2017). We believe that this general logic also applies to the level of the mass public. ...
Article
Full-text available
How do the range of issues voters care about and party system polarization impact democratic outcomes? Recent debates have focused on the negative effect of polarized systems on democratic quality. However, the extent to which this polarization is channeled or diffused over a wide range of issues on the public agenda has not been analyzed systematically. Using data from 31 European countries from 2003 to 2018, we show that party polarization indeed has a negative effect on people's satisfaction with democracy. Importantly, however, we demonstrate that at high levels of issue diversity, the negative effect of polarization is minimized. Drawing on the deliberative democracy literature, we argue that at low levels of issue diversity, polarization makes compromise in society less likely and the political discourse more antagonistic. However, at higher levels of issue diversity, contestation and conflict can be diffused over a large range of issues, providing more favorable conditions for collective will formation and, ultimately, higher levels of satisfaction with democracy.
... While these parties are often mainstream parties, they are not in contention to control the prime minister (PM). Additionally, junior partners are generally smaller parties in both vote share and members of parliament, and they often hold a more limited set of issue appeals (Greene, 2017). ...
... The symbolic importance of controlling their most salient portfolio likely becomes muddled as the party becomes engaged in policy-making on a range of topics. Overly diverse policy appeals have negative electoral consequences for governing parties as their messages become unclear (Greene, 2017). Following these logics, we propose that the total number of ministers parties control leads to alternate outcomes for parties that hold their most salient portfolio and those that do not. ...
Article
Full-text available
This article highlights the electoral effects of holding salient portfolios within a coalition government. For voters, holding ministries can be seen as a symbol of a party’s success within the coalition. As a voting heuristic, parties not controlling the portfolios on issues important to their platforms signal their failure to achieve these goals. Following this perspective, we hypothesize that the difference between coalition parties that hold salient portfolios and those that do not partially predicts the extent of the electoral cost of coalition participation. Using a data set that covers 11 European parliamentary democracies between 1966 and 2002, we show that for junior coalition partners there is an electoral reward for holding their most salient portfolio. There is also an electoral benefit for a junior partner to hold a larger number of portfolios if they do not control their most salient portfolio. Conversely, holding their most salient portfolio and a larger number of additional ministries results in greater electoral losses in the subsequent parliamentary election. These results indicate that parties’ success at negotiating for their policy priorities in coalition governments holds consequences for their future electoral success.
... Carey 2009). From this perspective, new governments prioritize electoral priorities and easy compromises before turning to more complicated policies (Greene 2016b). New governments following a partisan transition will seek to pass legislation consistent with their priorities. ...
... Coalitions where one party controls nearly all of the seats (converging on ENCP=1), are more stable than coalitions containing a larger number of parties. xiv This evidence connects well with studies showing that coalitions initially deal with the easy compromises and then focus on protecting their accomplishments later on(Martin and Vanberg 2011;Greene 2016b). ...
Article
Studies of policy attention find only mixed support for a partisan impact, instead showing that policy attention reacts more to world events. Yet, a rigorous examination of the ways in which change in the partisan composition of government matters for the distribution of policies across issues has yet to be completed in a cross-national framework. Combining data on policy output from the Comparative Agendas Project, we present a detailed investigation of parties' effect on agenda stability in six advanced industrial democracies over time. We consider parties as dynamic organizations by arguing that parties' organizational characteristics and goals interact with their electoral context to determine their impact on policy attention. The results show that parties' influence on the policy agenda depends on economic conditions, the type of government, the government's seat share, and the number of parties in the governing cabinet, particularly following a major transition in government.
... A substantial and growing part of the vast literature on government coalitions is devoted to coalition duration and durability (for example, Fortunato and Loftis 2018;Greene 2017;Krauss 2018;Krauss and Kroeber 2021;Saalfeld 2008 to mention a few of the most recent ones). Durable governments have been regarded as one of the pre-conditions of effective policymaking (Sartori 1994), while short-lived governments are seen as ineffective 'because they lack time to develop and implement coherent political programs' (Lijphart 1984: 165). ...
Article
Full-text available
The literature on government coalitions uses a common definition of when governments terminate and new ones form. This terminology is convenient and has served empirical coalitions studies quite well. This article challenges this terminology on the ground that it risks inflating the number of governments and, at least in some countries, severely distorts scholarly understanding of government duration and durability. Specifically, this article criticises the definitional condition that any partisan change in the composition of a government signifies its termination. The article demonstrates how using more precise definitions affects government duration considerably in a number of countries. In some cases, countries experience short-lived governments because minor partisan changes take place within a surplus coalition. Given these observations, the article re-visits the finding that minimum winning governments survive longer than oversized governments. When applying the modified definitions, differences in duration between these two types of majority coalitions almost disappear.
... WSTĘP tudia nad tworzeniem i utrzymaniem koalicji były i są istotną częścią badań nad systemami politycznymi. Stanowiące pokłosie tych studiów tradycyjne modele rządzenia koalicyjnego, w których podkreślano znaczenie personalnych, historycznych bądź programowych uwarunkowań zwiększających efektywność takiego rządzenia, powstawały jednak głównie w Europie Zachodniej i dotyczyły tak zwanych skonsolidowanych demokracji (Dodd, 1976;Laver, 1998;Kalandrakis, 2010;Blockmans & Guerry, 2016;Bowler i in., 2016;Cherepnalkoski i in., 2016;Ibenskas, 2016;Greene, 2017). Nie we wszystkich innych przypadkach znajdowały swoje zastosowanie. ...
Book
Full-text available
Monografia jest poświęcona polityce koalicyjnej w Nowej Zelandii po 1993 roku. Wówczas to Nowozelandczycy podjęli w referendum decyzję o istotnej transformacji systemu wyborczego z większościowego na mieszany. Autor odpowiada na pytania o to, jak zmiana ordynacji wpłynęła na proces formowania gabinetów, na ile zróżnicowane pozostają strategie koalicyjne partii dużych (formujących koalicje) i partii małych (dopełniających koalicje) oraz w jaki sposób afiliacja ideologiczna ugrupowań politycznych determinuje ich aktywność sojuszniczą. Praca składa się z trzech części: wprowadzenia do problematyki nowozelandzkiego systemu politycznego (rozdział I), teoretycznej rewizji tradycyjnego modelu formowania gabinetów koalicyjnych (rozdział II) oraz empirycznej analizy dotychczas formowanych sojuszy parlamentarnych i gabinetowych w Nowej Zelandii (rozdział III). Monografia jest studium przypadku, osadzonym w paradygmacie neoinstytucjonalnym. Autor wykorzystuje instrumentarium analizy systemowej oraz proponuje zaaplikowanie wybranych narzędzi analizy sieciowej do wizualizacji przebiegu negocjacji koalicyjnych. Wnioski z przeprowadzonych badań uprawniają do postawienia tezy, że istnieją takie okoliczności, które uniemożliwiają partiom politycznym podpisywanie klasycznych umów koalicyjnych, a jednocześnie nie stanowią na tyle silnej bariery, by przeszkodzić w skutecznym kooperowaniu na arenie parlamentarnej bazującym na innej formie porozumień – tak zwanych kontraktach wsparcia (w tym najpopularniejszym z nich – confidence and supply agreement). Ta innowacyjna forma kooperacji prowadzi w konsekwencji do „rozmycia” klasycznych w nauce o polityce dychotomicznych pojęć: „rząd – opozycja” oraz „gabinet mniejszościowy – gabinet większościowy”. Proces ten znalazł swoje odzwierciedlenie w autorskiej redefinicji sekwencyjnego modelu formowania gabinetu zaproponowanej w niniejszej pracy.
... Reduced tradeoffs during periods of improving economic performance allow incumbents to focus their emphasis on the issues in which they have the greatest competence (Greene 2016). Parties that have a greater issue diversity also have more dimensions upon which they can negotiate governing coalition arrangements, and more issue diverse coalitions tend to last longer (Greene 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Extant research has focused on the consequences of positional issue shifts that parties associate with their campaigns. Less attention has been paid to the consequences of the breadth of these issue agendas, which we demonstrate is a fruitful avenue for future research. Our analysis compares the effects of “appealing broadly” when employed by mainstream-left and mainstream-right parties and argues that centre-right parties can gain votes by employing this strategy. In contrast, we show that this “broad appeal” strategy is not successful for the mainstream-left in advanced parliamentary democracies. Additional analysis suggests that when controlling for issue diversity, position or salience shifts are not significant predictors of electoral support for centre-right parties. These findings contribute to the literature on party competition, issue competition and ownership, and the advantaged position of contemporary centre-right parties.
... Issue diversity likely matters for a range of political outcomes (e.g. Jennings et al. 2011;Boydstun et al. 2014;Greene 2016b). Incorporating research on issue diversity provides a means of characterizing political campaigns that may result in new approaches to the study of elections. ...
Article
Full-text available
Historical policy reputations influence voters' perceptions of parties' electoral campaigns. In the face of their recent experiences in office, government parties' thoughtfully crafted electoral messages likely compete for voters' attention with a wealth of broader information about the government's policy activities and priorities. For their message to be heard, incumbent parties must offer a focused policy message that draws voters' attention to the issues they most prioritize. Considering the issue scope of parties' electoral messages, I hypothesize that incumbency status determines the effect issue appeals have on the votes parties receive. Opposition parties may profit from including more issues, but incumbent parties' policy reputations limit the potential benefits from diverse appeals. Using evidence from 25 OECD countries over a 60 year period, I find that parties' incumbent status conditions the effect of issue diversity on parties' aggregate electoral success. Voters reward incumbents for focusing their platforms, but reward opposition parties for diverse appeals. The results for incumbent parties are robust to extensive sensitivity analyses. The theory and evidence broadly suggest that incumbent parties with more focused policy messages can, at least partially, overcome the weight of their past policy reputations.
... Looking at inter-party legislative dynamics, Martin and Vanberg's (2011) demonstrate that less ideologically contentious legislation is often passed before more contentious politics. Greene (2016) adds that this has implications for coalitions' ability to maintain their majority in parliament. ...
Article
In this article, we highlight the importance of accounting for time in the study of pledge fulfillment, effectively adding a significant element to the ongoing academic discussions of the factors that influence the fulfillment of party promises. Unlike previous analyses in which pledge fulfillment is assumed to be a uniform process occurring over time, we analyze party pledge fulfillment using a discrete time approach: doing so highlights yet unobserved dynamics. More precisely, we find that if the government does not enact pledges within the first half of its mandate, the probability of these pledges ever being fulfilled drops drastically. The discrete time modeling approach also allows us to investigate the relationships existing between the budget balance and pledge fulfillment more thoroughly. Our research also extends the study of pledge fulfillment to a new case, the province of Quebec, for the period of 1994–2014 encompassing six governments. Finally, we also conduct similar analyses on Canadian pledge fulfillment data spanning seven successive governments from 1993 to 2015. This study analyzes a total of 1431 manually coded election pledges.
... Party family membership may serve as a proxy for the underlying cleavage structure of a niche, as party families tend to group together parties that mobilized in similar historical circumstances and had the intention of representing similar interests' (Gallagher et al., 1995: 181). Third, on the basis of the CMP, we again constructed an inverse Herfindahl measure that captures the density of the issue agenda within each niche (for more details on the exact calculation, see Greene, 2014). Theoretically, the resulting measure equals 1 if all parties competing in an election only emphasize one single issue -producing maximum concentration -whereas increasing values denote more issue agenda density. ...
Article
Full-text available
This study introduces a population-ecological approach to the entry and exit of political parties. A primary proposition of population ecology is that organizational entry and exit depends on the number of organizations already present: that is, density. We propose that political parties mainly experience competition from parties in the same ideological niche (left, centre, right). Pooled time-series analyses of 410 parties, 263 elections and 18 West-European countries largely support our expectations. We find that political parties are more likely to exit when density within their niche increases. Also there is competition between adjacent ideological niches, i.e. between centrist and right-wing niches. In contrast to our expectations, neither density nor institutional rules impact party entry. This raises important questions about the rationale of prospective entrants.
Article
This article contributes to our understanding of democratic representation by analyzing government congruence – the gap between the positions of the government and the median voter – within proportional representation systems. Analyzing elections in non‐post‐communist, democratic OECD countries in the post‐war period until 2014, we argue and show that the salience of non‐economic issues such as national way of life and migration led to ideological incongruence indirectly through its effect on government formation by right‐wing political parties. We suggest that in this period right‐wing political parties that own and emphasize these issues found it easier to differentiate themselves from their ideological counterparts and join a coalition with them without being threatened by credit claiming conflicts. Since, everything else kept constant, right‐wing coalitions were then more likely to emerge when such non‐economic issues were salient in the party system, their probability to form when the median is located at the center was also higher, leading to higher levels of ideological incongruence overall. Dieser Artikel trägt zu unserem Verständnis demokratischer Repräsentation bei, indem er die Regierungskongruenz – die Kluft zwischen den Positionen der Regierung und des Medianwählers – innerhalb von Verhältniswahlsystemen analysiert. Basierend auf einer Analyse von Wahlen in nicht‐postkommunistischen, demokratischen OECD‐Ländern in der Nachkriegszeit bis 2014 argumentieren und zeigen wir, dass die Bedeutung nicht‐ökonomischer Themen, wie etwa die nationale Lebensweise und Migration, durch ihre Wirkung auf die Regierungsbildung durch rechte politische Parteien indirekt zu ideologischer Inkongruenz führte. Wir gehen davon aus, dass es in dieser Zeit rechten politischen Parteien, die diese Themen betonen, leichter fiel, sich von ihren ideologischen Kontrahenten abzugrenzen und mit ihnen eine Koalition einzugehen, ohne mit diesen in Konflikt über diese Themen zu geraten. Unter ansonsten gleichen Bedingungen bildeten sich daher eher rechte Koalitionen, wenn solche nicht‐ökonomischen Themen im Parteiensystem wichtig waren. Daher war die Wahrscheinlichkeit, dass sich rechte Koalitionen bildeten, auch höher, wenn der Median in der Mitte angesiedelt war. Dies wiederum führte zu höherer ideologischer Inkongruenz insgesamt. Cet article propose une analyse de la congruence gouvernementale – l'écart entre les positions du gouvernement et de l'électeur médian – au sein des systèmes de représentation proportionnelle à travers les élections dans les pays démocratiques non post‐communistes de l'OCDE dans la période d'après‐guerre jusqu'en 2014. L'importance des enjeux non‐économiques comme la migration a conduit à une incongruité idéologique indirectement par son effet sur la formation de gouvernements par les partis de droite. Au cours de cette période, les partis de droite qui mettent l'accent sur ces enjeux se sont distancés de leurs homologues idéologiques et ont rejoint des coalitions sans être menacés par des conflits sur ces enjeux. Les coalitions de droite étaient alors plus susceptibles d'émerger lorsque les enjeux non‐économiques étaient saillants dans le système de partis; la probabilité de formation de telles coalitions était plus élevée dans les cas où la médiane était située au centre.
Article
Politicians and media frequently invoke immigration threats to shape public opinion. But how do outgroup threat frames affect norms of citizenship, including behavior, liberal value commitments, and national belonging? This paper presents evidence from an embedded vignette survey experiment in three immigrant-receiving societies: United States, United Kingdom, and Germany. I find immigration threats are filtered through partisanship in polarized settings, and asymmetrically affect norms of “good citizenship” among individuals on the partisan left. However, we see variation within this group: Democrats (US) de-value norms of behavior, like voting and being informed, while Labor supports (UK) repudiate liberal norms like tolerance and rally around national belonging. By contrast, in Germany, we observe more consensus in citizenship norm responses. The strong effect of immigration threat framing on the partisan left brings our attention to the strategic use of immigration discourse to move traditionally sympathetic citizens away from democratic civic ideals.
Article
The emergence of green parties has injected new lines of competition into national party systems, with discernible issue competition effects for established, ideologically-proximate social democratic parties. Despite a burgeoning literature on green and social democratic issue competition tactics in settings where coalition government is common, we have less understanding of these same effects in settings where majority government is the norm. Using the case of the Australian Greens and the Australian Labor Party, we explore issue competition dynamics in a polity where the majoritarian electoral system reduces opportunities for coalition formation. We find that the absence of strong electoral imperatives for either party to enter coalitions has encouraged them to compete adjacent to one another, rather than in direct competition.
Article
Full-text available
The concept of the niche party has become increasingly popular in analyses of party competition. Yet, existing approaches vary in their definitions and their measurement approaches. We propose using a minimal definition that allows us to compare political parties in terms of their ‘nicheness’. We argue that the conceptual core of the niche party concept is based on issue emphasis and that a niche party emphasizes policy areas neglected by its rivals. Based on this definition, we propose a continuous measure that allows for more fine-grained measurement of a party’s ‘nicheness’ than the dominant, dichotomous approaches and thereby limits the risk of measurement error. Drawing on data collected by the Comparative Manifesto Project, we show that (1) our measure has high face validity and (2) exposes differences among parties that are not captured by alternative, static or dichotomous measures.
Book
Full-text available
One of the chief tasks facing political leaders is to build and maintain unity within their parties. This text examines the relationship between party leaders and Members of Parliament in Britain, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand, showing how the two sides interact and sometimes clash. Christopher J. Kam demonstrates how incentives for MPs to dissent from their parties have been amplified by a process of partisan dealignment that has created electorates of non-partisan voters who reward shows of political independence. Party leaders therefore rely on a mixture of strategies to offset these electoral pressures, from offering MPs advancement to threatening discipline, and ultimately relying on a long-run process of socialization to temper their MPs' dissension. Kam reveals the underlying structure of party unity in modern Westminster parliamentary politics, and drives home the point that social norms and socialization reinforce rather than displace appeals to MPs' self-interest. © Christopher J. Kam 2009 and Cambridge University Press, 2009.
Article
Full-text available
Parties campaign on a range of topics to attract diverse support. Little research, however, looks at why parties narrow or expand the scope of their campaign or shift attention across issues. Focusing only on a single dimension or topic may lead scholars to miss-estimate the magnitude of the effect of parties’ experiences in government or economic context. I propose that electoral conditions influence the scope of parties' manifestos. I test hypotheses using a measure of issue diversity: the Effective Number of Manifesto Issues (ENMI). Based on analysis of 1662 manifestos in 24 OECD countries from 1951 to 2010, the results support the theory. Government parties have higher ENMI. Opposition parties and governments expecting a reward for the economy limit their issue appeals. Tests of the underlying mechanism using data on issue dimensions and policy data provide additional support. These findings have important implications for the study of election strategy and democratic accountability.
Article
Full-text available
Political parties matter for government outcomes. Despite this general finding for political science research, recent work on public policy and agenda-setting has found just the opposite; parties generally do not matter when it comes to explaining government attention. While the common explanation for this finding is that issue attention is different than the location of policy, this explanation has never truly been tested. Through the use of data on nearly 65 years of UK Acts of Parliament this paper presents a detailed investigation of the effect parties have on issue attention in UK Acts of Parliament. It demonstrates that elections alone do not explain changes in in the distribution of policies across issues. Instead, the parties’ organizations, responses to economic conditions, and size of the parliamentary delegation influence the stability of issue attention following a party transition.
Article
Full-text available
The key function of representative democracy is to provide a mechanism through which public opinion and public policy are regularly connected. On one hand, there should be policy representation; public preferences for policy should be reflected in policy itself. And on the other hand, there should be public responsiveness; public preferences should be informed and should react to public policy. Policy representation is important in everyday politics. Failure of adequate policy representation may result on disaffection of the public for the government. This article discusses the evidence of representation of public preferences in the Canadian federal policy. It discusses the substance of the preferences and determines whether these preferences adjust to the policy itself. The article also discusses thermostatic public responsiveness, whereby public preferences for policy change reflect changes in policy.
Article
Full-text available
This article explores the question of why coalition partners negotiate and publish coalition agreements before entering into a cabinet and why the content of these agreements varies so widely. Some scholars suggest that coalition partners draft agreements for electoral purposes, while others suggest that coalition agreements can be used to commit to policy negotiations. Although both sides of the debate have uncovered supportive evidence, the literature remains in disagreement. This article provides new organisation of previous work on agreements and develops two alternative theoretical arguments about the crafting of coalition agreements. It is argued here that coalition partners consider both electoral and policy motivations during the drafting of agreements and that the dominance of one of these motivations is conditional on the degree of issue saliency and division between partners. Empirical support is found for the theoretical argument that coalition partners include low saliency issues in the coalition agreement on policy dimensions on which they are less divided, and that coalition partners include high saliency issues in the coalition agreement on policy dimensions on which they are more divided.
Article
Full-text available
This article questions the utility of assessing radical right party placement on economic issues, which has been extensively analyzed in academic literature. Starting from the premise that political parties have varying strategic stakes in different political issues, the article considers political competition in multiple issue dimensions. It suggests that political competition is not simply a matter of taking positions on political issues, but rather centers on manipulating the dimensional structure of politics. The core argument is that certain political parties, such as those of the radical right, seek to compete on neglected, secondary issues while simultaneously blurring their positions on established issues in order to attract broader support. Deliberate position blurring – considered costly by the literature – may thus be an effective strategy in multidimensional competition. The article combines quantitative analyses of electoral manifestos, expert placement of political parties, and voter preferences, by studying seventeen radical right parties in nine Western European party systems.
Article
Full-text available
This article analyses the impact of government prospects and government participation on party policy preferences. Comparing the content of manifestos of governing and opposition parties in Belgium during three decades, I observed that the relationship of a party to the act of governing influences the content of its manifesto. In that sense, party preferences are not only driven by ideology and vote-seeking arguments but are part of a larger party strategy: parties adapt their electoral platform when they are in government or are willing to enter into it. The conclusion of the article also discusses the literature on government formation. Such literature hypothesizes that parties that are ideologically similar would form a coalition. However, results for the Belgian case demonstrate that parties strategically adapt their electoral platform when wanting to enter the government. Coalitions are made up of parties with similar policy preferences, not because they ‘are’ alike but because parties strategically ‘make’ them alike.
Article
Full-text available
This study examines postwar patterns in macroeconomic policies and outcomes associated with left-and right-wing governments in capitalist democracies. It argues that the objective economic interests as well as the subjective preferences of lower income and occupational status groups are best served by a relatively low unemployment-high inflation macroeconomic configuration, whereas a comparatively high unemployment-low inflation configuration is compatible with the interests and preferences of upper income and occupational status groups. Highly aggregated data on unemployment and inflation outcomes in relation to the political orientation of governments in 12 West European and North American nations are analyzed revealing a low unemployment-high inflation configuration in nations regularly governed by the Left and a high unemployment-low inflation pattern in political systems dominated by center and rightist parties. Finally, time-series analyses of quarterly postwar unemployment data for the United States and Great Britain suggests that the unemployment rate has been driven downward by Democratic and Labour administrations and upward by Republican and Conservative governments. The general conclusion is that governments pursue macroeconomic policies broadly in accordance with the objective economic interests and subjective preferences of their class-defined core political constituencies.
Article
Full-text available
Parties can choose to concentrate on topics which other parties cover relatively little. In such cases, they have a programmatic niche profile compared with their mainstream rivals. We argue that parties should be more likely to switch between a niche and a mainstream profile in response to unsatisfactory electoral results. However, these vote-seeking incentives to change salience profiles should have greater influence on parties that are small, young, and/or in opposition. Such parties will find it easier and more attractive to change their salience profiles. We use a measure of niche profiles based on manifesto coding and test our hypotheses in 22 countries with a transition model. For niche-to-mainstream transitions in party profiles, the results confirm our expectations, but vote-seeking incentives do not lead mainstream parties to shift to a niche profile. The results of this article have implications for our understanding of the dynamics of party competition in multiparty systems.
Article
Full-text available
We build on previous theories of junior minister allocation and coalition oversight by incorporating a novel theory of strategic changes in the issues covered in party manifestos. We argue that parties use junior ministerial appointments to oversee their coalition partners on portfolios that correspond to issues emphasized by the parties’ activists when the coalition partner’s preferences deviate from the party’s. The findings, based on a data set of more than 2800 party-portfolio dyads in 10 countries, show significant support for these expectations. We find that party leaders who successfully negotiate for junior ministers to particular portfolios are most concerned about checking ideologically contentious coalition partners in areas of concern to activists. The results also illustrate the usefulness of our dyadic approach for the study of junior minister allocation.
Article
Full-text available
Most studies of party competition consider the presentation of ambiguous positions a costly strategy. This literature, however, does not study party strategies in multiple issue dimensions. Yet multidimensionality may play an important role in parties’ strategic calculus. Although it may be rational for a party to emphasize a certain issue dimension, it may be equally rational to disguise its stance on other dimensions by blurring its position. This article argues that parties employ strategies of issue emphasis and position blurring in various dimensional contexts. Who emphasizes and who blurs thus depends on the actors’ relative stakes in different issue dimensions. The paper makes its case by performing cross-sectional analyses of 132 political parties in 14 West European party systems using Comparative Manifesto Project data, the 2006 Chapel Hill expert survey and the 2009 European Election Study.
Article
Full-text available
The authors present a theory that seeks to explain why parties change their political strategies, organizational characteristics and issue positions. Whereas most of the existing literature on party change deals with party systems, the focus here is on individual parties. Whereas much of the literature views parties as responding more or less gradually to socioeconomic change, change is here regarded as a discontinuous outcome of specific party decisions linked to party goals. This approach is placed in the literature by reviewing extant theories of party change. Our theory itself is initially advanced in a discursive section which suggests that change does not `just happen', but instead results from leadership change, a change of dominant faction within the party, and/or an external stimulus for change. The article then presents a more formal exposition of this theory, consisting of definitions, assumptions, and a series of testable propositions. It concludes with illustrative examples of this theoretical framework.
Article
Full-text available
emocratic governments come in two pure forms—presidential and parliamentary systems. The main distinction lies in the relationship between the executive and the legislature; a separation of pow- ers characterizes a presidential system, while in a par- liamentary system, there is a fusion of the executive and the legislature. The majority of democracies in the world use some variation of a parliamentary sys- tem (Lijphart 1999, 118). In these nations, where multiple parties compete for power, the electorate determines the membership of the legislature, which in turn chooses the executive (composed of the prime minister and the cabinet). The legislature also typi- cally maintains the power to dismantle the govern- ment via a vote of no confidence. The executive thus must garner the support of enough of the legislators so that the legislature does not vote (usually by a majority) to decompose the cabinet in favor of another government. In most cases, this requires a coalition between various parties that control, or at least are tolerated by, a majority of the legislators. In many ways, research on coalition behavior in parliamentary democracies exemplifies progress, generating path-breaking theoretical models (e.g., Riker 1962; Baron and Ferejohn 1989), documenting near-perfect predictive relationships (e.g., Browne and Franklin 1973; Warwick and Druckman 2006), and melding theoretical and empirical work (e.g., Diermeier and Stevenson 2000; Martin and Stevenson 2001; Skjæveland, Serritzlew, and Blom- Hansen 2007). Yet, a well recognized but largely unresolved problem plagues the bulk of extant stud- ies: they are static. The typical research study explores a single coalition process at one point in time with limited attention to dynamics external to coalition politics. The alternative is to have dynamic studies that explore interactive processes (e.g., with feedback) over time. Even the earliest scholars of coalition politics rec- ognized the importance of developing dynamic stud- ies (e.g., Leiserson 1970, 271; Bueno de Mesquita 1975; Browne and Dreijmanis 1982, 340; Laver 1986, 33-34; Laver and Hunt 1992, 74-75). Laver (1998, 22) explains, "The absence of these (dynamic) features from government-formation models is not because theorists regard them as unimportant. The reason is more prosaic—it is very difficult to incor- porate them in a rigorous manner." Incorporating dynamic elements into coalition theory would represent substantial progress. Indeed, the presumed goal of the research is to understand which coalition forms, how long it lasts, and how it shapes governing decisions and policy. It seems fairly obvious that processes of coalition formation, governance, and duration relate to one another and also to other political and economic dynamics. Under- standing how coalition politics works and isolating causal mechanisms then requires a consideration of these dynamic relationships—something that is still lacking.
Chapter
This book takes stock of what we have learned to date about the impact of semi-presidentialism on democracy from a cross-regional perspective. We do so by discussing institutional choice, operational subtypes, system performance, and the evolution of semi-presidentialism, following a logical sequence. In so doing, the present volume covers more ground than any previous work on semi-presidentialism, both in terms of comprehensive coverage of regions where the system concentrates, and in terms of a full institutional approach that looks at the upstream, midstream, downstream, and evolution of the system. Starting with a reliable definition of the concept of semi-presidentialism that is based on core constitutional features and is adopted throughout the volume, contributors investigate the presence of general patterns of systematic variation across the very diverse universe of cases of semi-presidentialism and their performance. The authors illustrate the actual dynamics of this widely adopted constitutional form through chapters that cover all regions in the world where semi-presidentialism is found; they review the performance of semi-presidentialism in successful democracies, in countries where democracy has broken down, and in countries where democracy has thus far survived but with many challenges.
Article
Parties in coalition governments must delegate to each other. Can coalition partners hold each other's ministers accountable, or must collective government degenerate to ministerial government? In this article, I theorize about the conditions under which coalition partners should make efforts to keep tabs on each other's ministers and the ways in which they might do so. I show that parties in Italian, Dutch. and multiparty Japanese coalitions used their allotments of junior ministerial positions to shadow each other's ministers, while parties in German coalitions relied instead on institutional devices to tie ministers' hands. I also find that during the LDP's long reign as a majority party its Japan, its factions kept tabs on each other's ministers in this same way. Finally, I demonstrate that parties were more likely to keep tabs on each other's ministers for the most important ministerial portfolios.
Article
Political scientists know remarkably little about the extent to which legislatures are able to influence policymaking in parliamentary democracies. In this article, we focus on the influence of legislative institutions in periods of coalition government. We show that multiparty governments are plagued by "agency" problems created by delegation to cabinet ministers that increase in severity on issues that divide the coalition. We also argue that the process of legislative review presents an important-but understudied-institutional opportunity for coalition partners to overcome these tensions. We evaluate our argument using original legislative data on over 300 government bills collected from two parliamentary democracies. The central implication of our findings is that legislatures play a more important role in parliamentary democracies than is usually appreciated by providing a key institutional mechanism that allows coalition partners with divergent preferences to govern successfully.
Article
Recent research on parliamentary government demonstrates that institutions critically affect government formation and survival. Yet, surprisingly, virtually no work has explored the impact of bicameralism on coalitional politics, despite a burgeoning interest in the study of bicameral legislatures. Cabinet survival almost never depends on formal upper-chamber approval, but bicameralism does fundamentally shape policy outcomes. Therefore, coalition builders in bicameral systems might seek to obtain concurrent majorities in both chambers, to ensure that government policies pass into law. And governments with upper-chamber majority support should survive longer than those without, Examining data from 202 governments in ten countries, we find little evidence of bicameral effects on government formation, but strong support for the duration hypothesis-governments with upper-chamber majorities last substantially longer than those without. These results hold even in the face of variation in the constitutional powers and ideological compositions of upper chambers. Work on parliamentary government can no longer ignore the larger institutional context of bicameralism.
Article
"Engagingly written and employing a fruitful mix of comparative research methods, this book explains how and why small parties, while they may not be entirely masters of their own fate, are more than simply corks tossed on the ocean. It adds significantly to our understanding, and deserves to be widely read." -Tim Bale, University of Sussex, UK "Spoon uses innovative methods for examining the effect of green party behavior on their electoral fortunes, electoral presence, and visibility to the public . . . This book makes an important contribution to the fields of niche party fortunes, party politics, and comparative politics in general." -Bonnie Meguid, University of Rochester "Political Survival of Small Parties in Europe offers the rare treat of a small-n comparison that engages with broad political science issues of small party flair, feat, and fate. Mixed methods means that the depth of knowledge about individual cases is balanced with a theoretical ambition. In contrast with many other approaches, Spoon demonstrates the agency of small parties in adapting and using the constraints of their political and institutional environments." -Florence Faucher, Sciences Po-Centre d'études européennes, France It is often thought that small party survival or failure is a result of institutional constraints, the behavior of large parties, and the choices of individual politicians. Jae-Jae Spoon, in contrast, argues that the decisions made by small parties themselves determine their ability to balance the dual goals of remaining true to their ideals while maximizing their vote and seat shares, thereby enabling them to survive even in adverse electoral systems. Spoon employs a mixed-methods approach in order to explore the policy, electoral, and communication strategies of West European green parties from 1980 to the present. She combines cross-national data on these parties with in-depth comparative case studies of two New Politics parties, the French and British green parties, that have survived in similar national-level plurality electoral systems. Both of these green parties have developed as organizations and now run candidates in elections at the local, national, and European levels in their respective countries. The parties' survival, Spoon asserts, results from their ability to balance their competing electoral, policy, and communication goals. Jacket design: Heidi Hobde Dailey.
Article
Why do some political parties flourish, while others flounder? In this book, Meguid examines variation in the electoral trajectories of the new set of single-issue parties: green, radical right, and ethnoterritorial parties. Instead of being dictated by electoral institutions or the socioeconomic climate, as the dominant theories contend, the fortunes of these niche parties, she argues, are shaped by the strategic responses of mainstream parties. She advances a new theory of party competition in which mainstream parties facing unequal competitors have access to a wider and more effective set of strategies than posited by standard spatial models. Combining statistical analyzes with in-depth case studies from Western Europe, the book explores how and why established parties undermine niche parties or turn them into weapons against their mainstream party opponents. This study of competition between unequals thus provides broader insights into the nature and outcome of competition between political equals.
Article
Coalition governments are the norm in most of the world's parliamentary democracies. Because these governments are comprised of multiple political parties, they are subject to tensions that are largely absent under single-party government. The pressures of electoral competition and the necessity of delegating substantial authority to ministers affiliated with specific parties threaten the compromise agreements that are at the heart of coalition governance. The central argument of this book is that strong legislative institutions play a critical role in allowing parties to deal with these tensions and to enforce coalition bargains. Based on an analysis of roughly 1,300 government bills across five democracies (Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, and the Netherlands), the book paints a detailed picture of the treatment of government legislation in contemporary parliaments. Two central contributions emerge. First, the book forces a reconsideration of the common perception that legislatures are largely irrelevant institutions in European democracies. The data presented here make a compelling case that parliaments that feature strong committee systems play an influential role in shaping policy. Second, the book contributes to the field of coalition governance. While scholars have developed detailed accounts of the birth and death of coalitions, much less is known about the manner in which coalitions govern between these bookend events. This book contributes to a richer understanding of how multiparty governments make policy.
Article
Legislatures are the core representative institutions in modern democracies. Citizens want legislatures to be decisive, and they want accountability, but they are frequently disillusioned with the representation legislators deliver. Political parties can provide decisiveness in legislatures, and they may provide collective accountability, but citizens and political reformers frequently demand another type of accountability from legislators – at the individual level. Can legislatures provide collective and individual accountability? This book considers what both kinds of accountability require and offers the most extensive crossnational analysis of legislative voting undertaken to date. It illustrates the balance between individualistic and collective representation in democracies and how party unity in legislative voting shapes that balance. In addition to quantitative analysis of voting patterns, the book draws on field and archival research to provide an extensive assessment of legislative transparency throughout the Americas.
Article
This book examines the relationship between semi-presidentialism and democratic performance. Semi-presidentialism - where a constitution provides for both a directly elected president and a prime minister and cabinet responsible to the legislature - has become the regime type of choice for new democracies. There are now over fifty countries in the world with a semi-presidential constitution and the vast majority of these countries have chosen this form of government since the early 1990s. This book operationalizes Shugart and Carey's distinction between president-parliamentarism - where the prime minister is responsible to both the legislature and to the directly elected president - and premier-presidentialism - where the prime minister is responsible to the legislature alone. The book shows that, all else equal, the president-parliamentary subtype is more likely to be associated with a poorer democratic performance than its premier-presidential counterpart. The evidence is based on a mixed-method approach, including large-n comparative statistical studies of all semi-presidential democracies since 1919, as well as in-depth case studies. The case studies include Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Portugal, and Senegal.
Book
Here is an accessible, up-to-date guide to event history analysis for researchers and advanced students in the social sciences. The foundational principles of event history analysis are discussed and ample examples are estimated and interpreted using standard statistical packages, such as STATA and S-Plus. Recent and critical innovations in diagnostics are discussed, including testing the proportional hazards assumption, identifying outliers, and assessing model fit. The treatment of complicated events includes coverage of unobserved heterogeneity, repeated events, and competing risks models. The authors point out common problems in the analysis of time-to-event data in the social sciences and make recommendations regarding the implementation of duration modeling methods.
Article
Theory: This paper develops and applies an issue ownership theory of voting that emphasizes the role of campaigns in setting the criteria for voters to choose between candidates. It expects candidates to emphasize issues on which they are advantaged and their opponents are less well regarded. It explains the structural factors and party system variables which lead candidates to differentially emphasize issues. It invokes theories of priming and framing to explain the electorate's response. Hypotheses: Issue emphases are specific to candidates; voters support candidates with a party and performance based reputation for greater competence on handling the issues about which the voter is concerned. Aggregate election outcomes and individual votes follow the problem agenda. Method: Content analysis of news reports, open-ended voter reports of important problems, and the vote are analyzed with graphic displays and logistic regression analysis for presidential elections between 1960 and 1992. Results: Candidates do have distinctive patterns of problem emphases in their campaigns; election outcomes do follow the problem concerns of voters; the individual vote is significantly influenced by these problem concerns above and beyond the effects of the standard predictors.
Article
While pre-electoral coalitions have important effects on the functioning of democracy, their formation has only been systematically examined in the context of established democracies. This study examines the patterns and factors of electoral alliance formation in eleven democracies in Central and Eastern Europe by focusing on joint candidate lists. It finds that electoral coalitions are more frequent in newer democracies than in established democracies. The formation of alliances is systematically related to their potential costs and benefits. On the one hand, coalitions can provide small parties with legislative representation and larger parties with important government coalition partners. On the other hand, parties face costs related to their electoral compatibility and the sharing of election candidacies and office positions.
Article
In this article I argue that coalitions will tend to employ control mechanisms to facilitate the adoption of compromise policies only when the expected benefit of their use is high enough. When partners are already satisfied with log-rolling policies (compartmentalized by jurisdiction), or when compromise is already attainable self-enforcingly, there are few incentives to use them. Conversely, when partners are interested in compromise policies but are unable to reach that outcome in equilibrium, then control mechanisms are likely to be implemented. The empirical evidence offered tends to support the two main hypotheses of this work: control mechanisms are less necessary when the tangentiality of partners' preferences is high and when they foresee frequent mutual interactions. However, that seems to work better for the allocation of watchdog junior ministers rather than for the writing of comprehensive policy agreements.
Article
In this paper problems of social choice in general, and political choice in particular, are considered in light of uncertainty. The space of social alternatives in this formulation includes not only pure social states, but lotteries or probability distributions over those states as well. In the context of candidate strategy selection in a spatial model of political choice, candidate strategy sets are represented by pure strategies—points in the space of alternatives—and ambiguous strategies—lotteries over those points. Questions about optimal strategy choice and the equilibrium properties of these choices are then entertained. Duncan Black's theorem about the dominance of the median preference is generalized, and further contingencies in which the theorem is false are specified. The substantive foci of these results are: (1) the conditions in which seekers of political office will rationally choose to appear equivocal in their policy intentions; and (2) the role of institutional structure in defining equilibrium.
Article
Parties often tailor their campaign message differently to different groups of voters with the goal of appealing to a broader electorate with diverse preferences and thereby winning their votes. I argue that the strategy helps a party win votes if it can convince diverse groups of voters that the party is ideologically closer to their preferred positions. Using election data from nine Western European democracies, I first show that parties gain votes when they appeal broadly. Analysis of individual-level survey data suggests that voters perceive broadly appealing parties as ideologically closer to their own positions, a finding that identifies a plausible mechanism behind the aggregate positive effect of this strategy on party election performance. These findings not only help explain the behavior of some European parties, but they may also offer a potential recipe for electoral success in multiparty democracies.
Article
Based upon findings in other fields in the social sciences, it is proposed in this article that cooperation between government parties can be induced when parties in governments are able to exercise credible exit threats. As stability is more likely to be induced by cooperation than by defection, more durable governments can be expected. The possibility for credible exit threats in a government is operationalized via the presence of a dominant party in the government. The corresponding prediction is tested against a data set that contains 261 postwar governments in twelve western multiparty democracies. In the event history analyses of government survival, I control for variables pertaining to the bargaining environment, bargaining complexity, and the ideological diversity of the governments. It is found that the presence of dominant parties in governments does indeed enhance the survival time of governments.
Article
Studies of political attention often focus on attention to a single issue, such as front-page coverage of the economy. However, examining attention to a single issue without accounting for the agenda as a whole can lead to faulty assumptions. One solution is to consider the diversity of attention; that is, how narrowly or widely attention is distributed across items (e.g., issues on an agenda or, at a lower level, frames in an issue debate). Attention diversity is an important variable in its own right, offering insight into how agendas vary in their accessibility to policy problems and perspectives. Yet despite the importance of attention diversity, we lack a standard for how best to measure it. This paper focuses on the four most commonly used measures: the inverse Herfindahl Index, Shannon's H, and their normalized versions. We discuss the purposes of these measures and compare them through simulations and using three real-world datasets. We conclude that both Shannon's H and its normalized form are better measures, minimizing the danger of spurious findings that could result from the less sensitive Herfindahl measures. The choice between the Shannon's H measures should be made based on whether variance in the total number of possible items (e.g., issues) is meaningful.
Book
Political scientists have long classified systems of government as parliamentary or presidential, two-party or multiparty, and so on. But such distinctions often fail to provide useful insights. For example, how are we to compare the United States, a presidential bicameral regime with two weak parties, to Denmark, a parliamentary unicameral regime with many strong parties? Veto Players advances an important, new understanding of how governments are structured. The real distinctions between political systems, contends George Tsebelis, are to be found in the extent to which they afford political actors veto power over policy choices. Drawing richly on game theory, he develops a scheme by which governments can thus be classified. He shows why an increase in the number of "veto players," or an increase in their ideological distance from each other, increases policy stability, impeding significant departures from the status quo. Policy stability affects a series of other key characteristics of polities, argues the author. For example, it leads to high judicial and bureaucratic independence, as well as high government instability (in parliamentary systems). The propositions derived from the theoretical framework Tsebelis develops in the first part of the book are tested in the second part with various data sets from advanced industrialized countries, as well as analysis of legislation in the European Union. Representing the first consistent and consequential theory of comparative politics, Veto Players will be welcomed by students and scholars as a defining text of the discipline.
Article
In parliamentary democracies, governments are typically composed of multiple political parties working together in a coalition. Such governments must confront a fundamental challenge in policymaking—the preferences of coalition parties often diverge significantly, but the government can adopt only one common policy on any specific issue. This fact raises a critical question that has far-reaching implications for the quality of democratic representation: Whose preferences are ultimately reflected in coalition policy choices? In this study, we explore three competing answers to this question derived from the theoretical literature on multiparty governance and parliamentary institutions. Our findings, based on an analysis of the legislative history of more than 1,000 government bills from three parliamentary democracies, strongly suggest that coalition policies reflect a compromise between government parties rather than the preferences of the ministers proposing them or the preferences of the median party in the legislature.
Article
Although methodologists have provided us ample notice of both the problem of nonproportional hazards (NPHs) and the means of correcting for them, less attention has been paid to the postestimation interpretation. The suggested inclusion of time interactions in our models is more than a statistical fix: These corrections alter the substantive meaning and interpretation of results. Framing the issue as a specific case of multiplicative-interaction modeling, I provide detailed discussion of the problem of NPHs and present several appropriate means of interpreting both the substantive impact and the significance of variables whose effects may change over time.
Article
The British Conservative party during 1997–2005 appeared to support the view that parties react to defeat by energizing their core vote base. Using a series of spatial and salience-based definitions of the core vote, combined with elite interviews with William Hague, Iain Duncan Smith and Michael Howard, the three Conservative leaders between 1997 and 2005, empirical evidence in support and also refutation of the core vote critique is evaluated here. The analyses suggest that Conservative issue strategies between 1997 and 2005 were chosen on grounds of spatial proximity and public perceptions of issue ownership, and that an appeal to Conservative voters was consistent with a broader appeal. The implications of this evidence are important for conceptualizing and applying party base explanations in Britain and beyond.
Article
The banking crisis of 2008/2009 and the subsequent sovereign-debt crisis in the European Union had a profound and destructive impact on in a number of countries including Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia and Spain. In other countries cabinets have remained firmly in control, although they had to announce deeply unpopular austerity packages. The political ‘mechanisms’ linking exogenous shocks (such as economic crises) and cabinet stability are still a matter for discussion. In this paper I will use the ERD dataset generated by Andersson, Bergman and Ersson to test hypotheses derived from Lupia and Strøm’s model of strategic cabinet termination (focusing on the conditions for political institutions to influence the costs of governing under the impact of exogenous shocks such as economic crises). Data from 28 European parliamentary democracies for the period 1945-2011 show that strong increases in unemployment were particularly destructive for European cabinets in this period, whereas the impact of inflation seems to be mitigated by political and strategic factors. Duration-dependent effects – unemployment increasing the risk of early elections towards the end of a parliamentary term and increasing the risk of nonelectoral cabinet replacements at its beginning – are small but significant, corroborating some of the strategic predictions of the Lupia-Strøm model.
Article
This paper explores how the party-defined dimensionality of political competition re- lates to the number of parties competing in legislative elections. It demonstrates that a mathematical relationship between the number of electoral parties and the literature's concept of dimensionality follows from the variables' definitions; conversely, it argues that exploring the relationship between the number of electoral parties and a different concept of dimensionality conveys new information. Hence, it first argues that how we conceptualize dimensionality matters. Re-directing attention to the latter relation- ship, it then hypothesizes that party system fragmentation will go hand-in-hand with the appearance of new conflicts on the political agenda when the electoral system is permissive. Using a time series cross-sectional data set that includes at its core a new measure of dimensionality, it finds reasonable support for the hypotheses; however, at the elite level, new parties are found to play less of a role in politicizing new conflicts than expected. What is the relationship between the number of political parties competing in legislative elections and the dimensionality of the space that structures political competition? Several scholars have postulated that the former is a function of the latter. For example, Lijphart (1984, 1999) has argued that a positive association exists between the number of parties and what he calls the number of issue dimensions. Others have proposed similar if more complicated hypotheses (e.g., Taagepera and Grofman, 1985; Taagepera and Shugart, 1989; Taagepera, 1999). All have found empirical support for their arguments.
Article
We attempt to resolve a recent controversy in the study of cabinet terminations pertaining to the shape of hazard rates. On the one hand, Warwick (1992b) provides evidence that cabinets are more likely to terminate the longer they are in office. Alt and King's (1994) analysis, on the other hand, suggests that hazard rates are constant over the life-time of a cabinet. This issue is of particular theoretical importance, since a constant hazard rate would add support to the nonstrategic model of cabinet termination due to Browne et al. (1986) while an increasing hazard rate would seem to favor Lupia and Strom's (1995) strategic approach. By applying a semi-parametric competing risk approach to data on cabinet durations, we are able to show that through its use of theory-based censoring the previous literature in effect analyzed only one mode in which cabinets terminate: the case where one cabinet is replaced by another without a new election. Once cabinet terminations that lead to chamber dissolutions with subsequent elections are analyzed directly, we can show that they are governed by a very different stochastic process. Hazard rates are not flat as in the case of replacements, but increase over the life of the government. Further the covariates governing replacement terminations fail to explain dissolution terminations. These findings add support to the strategic approach suggested by Lupia and Strom.
Article
Cabinet coalitions in multiparty parliamentary democracies lead a precarious existence. Legislative majorities can typically dismiss the cabinet at will and can sometimes force early elections through parliamentary dissolution. Since coalition termination can have substantial political consequences, it is important to understand when and why such decisions are made. To this end, we develop a model of coalition bargaining in a legislature with dismissal and dissolution powers. We use the model to identify necessary and sufficient conditions for both coalition termination and parliamentary dissolution. In contrast to several widely held maxims, we find that coalition terminations need not be the automatic consequence of exogenous shocks. Nor do opportunistic parties with favorable electoral prospects always dissolve parliament to enhance their power. Instead, decisions to terminate coalitions or call new elections result from party leaders' rational responses to the constraints of legislative and electoral institutions and the anticipated feelings of the electorate.
Book
This book develops and tests a “thermostatic” model of public opinion and policy, in which preferences for policy both drive and adjust to changes in policy. The representation of opinion in policy is central to democratic theory and everyday politics. So too is the extent to which public preferences are informed and responsive to changes in policy. The coexistence of both “public responsiveness” and “policy representation” is thus a defining characteristic of successful democratic governance, and the subject of this book. The authors examine both responsiveness and representation across a range of policy domains in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The story that emerges is one in which representative democratic government functions surprisingly well, though there are important differences in the details. Variations in public responsiveness and policy representation responsiveness are found to reflect the “salience” of the different domains and governing institutions – specifically, presidentialism (versus parliamentarism) and federalism (versus unitary government).
Article
One of the central challenges facing multiparty governments in parliamentary democracies is the need for coalition parties to communicate to their constituents that they have not strayed significantly from their electoral commitments when agreeing to policy compromises. We argue that one of the main ways parties attempt to make their case to constituents is through their behavior in legislative debate. Debate provides a unique opportunity—tied directly to the policy the government is implementing—to declare party positions on the coalition compromise. In an analysis of several hundred legislative speeches in two parliamentary democracies, we show that coalition parties communicate with constituents much more extensively on internally divisive issues, especially as the next parliamentary elections draw near. We also demonstrate contextual and institutional effects (including the impact of junior ministers) that complement emerging findings in the literature on coalition governance.