Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining: The Democratic Life Cycle in Western Europe

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Kaare Strøm, Wolfgang C. Müller, Torbjö Bergman, Torbjörn Bergman
Oxford University Press, 2008 - Political Science - 443 pages
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Cabinets and Coalition Bargaining provides a comprehensive analysis of coalition politics in Western Europe over the post-war period. It champions a dynamic approach in which the various stages in the life of coalitions influence each other. After a review of the literature a theory chapter addresses the roles of bargaining and transaction costs in coalition governance. Eight comparative chapters address the topics of government formation (government type, formation duration), coalition agreements, portfolio allocation, conflict management, cabinet termination and duration, and the electoral consequences of coalition government. The book is based on the most comprehensive data set ever employed in coalition studies that includes both coalitional and single-party countries and governments. Each chapter first provides a comparative overview of the phenomenon under study and then moves on to state-of-the art statistical analysis. Conceptually and in the statistical analysis the study argues for an integrated approach stressing the relevance of countries, time, 'structural attributes', actors' preferences, institutions, the coalition's bargaining environment, and 'critical events'. Indeed, sufficient explanations of most phenomena under study require independent variables from several of these categories.

Comparative Politics is a series for students, teachers, and researchers of political science that deals with contemporary government and politics. Global in scope, books in the series are characterised by a stress on comparative analysis and strong methodological rigour. The series is published in association with the European Consortium for Political Research. For more information visit

The Comparative Politics Series is edited by Professor David M. Farrell, School of Politics and International Relations, University College Dublin, Kenneth Carty, Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, and Professor Dirk Berg-Schlosser, Institute of Political Science, Philipps University, Marburg.

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An Introduction
Bargaining Transaction Costs and Coalition Governance
The Empirical Study of Cabinet Governance

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About the author (2008)

Kaare Stromn is a Professor in Political Science at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Minority Government and Majority Rule; co-editor of Challenges to Political Parties, Policy, Office or Votes?, Coalition Governments in Western Europe, Delegation andAccountability in Parliamentary Democracies, and the textbook Comparative Politics Today: A World View. He has published numerous articles in such scholarly journals as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, and the European Journal of Political Research.He has received the American Political Science Association's Franklin Burdette Pi Sigma Alpha Award for best conference paper (1983), the Gabriel Almond Award for best dissertation in Comparative Politics (1984), and UNESCO's Sixth Stein Rokkan Prize in Comparative Social Science Research (1994).Wolfgang C. Muller is a Professor in Comparative Government at the University of Mannheim and former Director of the Mannheim Centre for European Social Research (MZES). Previously he taught at the Universities of Vienna, Humboldt University Berlin, University of California, San Diego, Instituted'Etudes Politiques de Lille and was Academic Visitor, Nuffield College, Research Fellow University of Bergen, and Joseph A. Schumpeter Fellow at Harvard University. His book publications include Policy, Office, or Votes? How Political Parties in Western Europe Make Hard Decisions (co-ed. with KaareStrom, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999), Coalition Governments in Western Europe (co-ed. with Kaare Strom, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2000),Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies (co-ed. with Kaare Strom and Torbjorn Bergman, Oxford University Press, 2003).Torbjorn Bergman is a Professor in Political Science at the University of Umea. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Californa, San Diego and the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His book publications include Delegation and Accountability in European Integration: The NordicParliamentary Democracies and the European Union (co-edited with Erik Damgaard, London: Frank Cass, 2000), Delegation and Accountability in Parliamentary Democracies (co-ed. with Kaare Strom and Wolfgang C. Muller, Oxford University Press, 2003), and Democratic Institutions in Decline? (co-editedwith Kaare Strom, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, forthcoming 2008). His articles have appeared in journals such as European Journal of Political Research, Journal of European Public Policy, Government and Opposition, Party Politics, and Scandinavian Political Studies.

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