Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

The Electoral Implications of Coalition Policy Making

  • David Fortunato

Abstract

Coalition governance requires parties to come to collective policy decisions while simultaneously competing for votes. This reality has inspired a vibrant literature on coalition policy making, which is focused on legislative organization and behavior, though it is not clear how it affects the electorate. This article addresses this gap in the literature by examining how voters’ perceptions of compromise in coalition policy making affect their vote choices. Analyzing data from six parliamentary democracies where multiparty governance is the norm, it finds that voters punish parties they view as compromising. More specifically, voters are found to discount the policy accomplishments and policy promises of compromising parties, and that this tendency is more pronounced among previous incumbent cabinet supporters and the politically disinterested. These findings have important implications for the study of voting as well as coalition policy making.

Copyright

Footnotes

Hide All
*

Department of Political Science, Texas A&M University (email: fortunato@tamu.edu). Researcher support provided by the Collaborative Research Center SFB 884, Universität Mannheim. I am grateful to Royce Carroll, Tom Hansford, Lanny Martin, Robin Sickles, and Randy Stevenson for helpful comments, as well as three anonymous reviewers and the BJPS editorial team for excellent feedback and guidance. All mistakes are my own. Data replication sets are available at http://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/BJPolS and online appendices are available at https://doi.org/doi:10.1017/S0007123416000430.

Footnotes

References

Hide All
Adams, James, Clark, Michael, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Glasgow, Garrett. 2006. Are Niche Parties Fundamentally Different from Mainstream Parties? The Causes and the Electoral Consequences of Western European Parties’ Policy Shifts, 1976–1998. American Journal of Political Science 50 (3):513529.
Adams, James, Ezrow, Lawrence, Merrill, Samuel, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2013. Does Collective Responsibility for Performance Alter Party Strategies? Policy-Seeking Parties in Proportional Systems. British Journal of Political Science 43 (1):123.
Adams, James, Ezrow, Lawrence, and Wlezien, Christopher. 2014. The Company You Keep: How Citizens Infer Party Positions on European Integration from Governing Coalition Arrangements. Manuscript, University of California, Davis.
Alesina, Aberto, and Rosenthal, Howard. 1995. Partisan Politics, Divided Government, and the Economy. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Austen-Smith, David, and Banks, Jeffrey. 1990. Stable Governments and the Allocation of Policy Portfolios. The American Political Science Review 84 (3):891906.
Baron, David P. 1991. A Spatial Bargaining Theory of Government Formation in Parliamentary Systems. American Political Science Review 85 (1):137164.
Bawn, Kathleen, and Somer-Topcu, Zeynep. 2012. Government Versus Opposition at the Polls: How Governing Status Affects the Impact of Policy Positions. American Journal of Political Science 56 (2):433446.
Becher, Michael, and Donnelly, Michael. 2013. Economic Performance, Individual Evaluations, and the Vote: Investigating the Causal Mechanism. The Journal of Politics 75 (4):968979.
Beck, Nathaniel, and Katz, Jonathan N.. 2007. Random Coefficient Models for Time-Series–Cross-Section Data: Monte Carlo Experiments. Political Analysis 15 (2):182195.
Bille, Lars. 2013. Denmark. European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook 52 (1):5660.
Carroll, Royce, and Cox, Gary W.. 2012. Shadowing Ministers: Monitoring Partners in Coalition Governments. Comparative Political Studies 45 (2):220236.
Downs, Anthony. 1957. An Economic Theory of Democracy. New York: Harper and Row.
Duch, Raymond M., May, Jeff, and Armstrong, David A.. 2010. Coalition-Directed Voting in Multiparty Democracies. American Political Science Review 104 (4):698719.
Duch, Raymond M., and Stevenson, Randolph T.. 2008. The Economic Vote: How Political and Economic Institutions Condition Election Results. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
The Economist . 2011. Gallows Humour: The Good and Bad Reasons for the Lib Dems’ Strange Optimism. The Economist 24, September 70.
The Economist . 2012. Dutch Surprise: Voters May Get What They Least Expected: A Stable Two-Party Coalition. The Economist 15, September 34.
Eichorst, Jason. 2014. Explaining Variation in Coalition Agreements: The Electoral and Policy Motivations for Drafting Agreements. European Journal of Political Research 53 (1):98115.
Ezrow, Lawrence. 2008. Research Note: On the Inverse Relationship Between Votes and Proximity for Niche Parties. European Journal of Political Research 47 (2):206220.
Falco-Gimeno, Albert, and Fernandez-Vazquez, Pablo. 2014. Choices that Matter: Coalition Formation and Parties’ Ideological Reputation. Annual Meeting of the European Political Science Association, Edinburgh, 19–21 June.
Fortunato, David, and Adams, James. 2015. How Voters’ Perceptions of Junior Coalition Partners Depend on the Prime Minister’s Position. European Journal of Political Research 54 (3):601621.
Fortunato, David, and Stevenson, Randolph T.. 2013. Perceptions of Partisan Ideologies: The Effect of Coalition Participation. American Journal of Political Science 57 (2):459477.
Grice, Andrew. 2011. Fault Lines Widen in Coalition Ahead of 5 May Referendum. The Independent, 25 April.
Grofman, Bernard. 1985. The Neglected Role of the Status Quo in Models of Issue Voting. The Journal of Politics 47 (1):229237.
Hanmer, Michael J., and Ozan Kalkan, Kerem. 2013. Behind the Curve: Clarifying the Best Approach to Calculating Predicted Probabilities and Marginal Effects from Limited Dependent Variable Models. American Journal of Political Science 57 (1):263277.
Harbridge, Laurel, and Malhotra, Neil. 2011. Electoral Incentives and Partisan Conflict in Congress: Evidence from Survey Experiments. American Journal of Political Science 55 (3):494510.
Harbridge, Laurel, Malhotra, Neil, and Harrison, Brian F.. 2014. Public Preferences for Bipartisanship in the Policymaking Process. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39 (3):327355.
Hibbing, J. R., and Theiss-Morse, E.. 2002. Stealth Democracy: Americans’ Beliefs About How Government Should Work. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Honaker, James, King, Gary, and Blackwell, Matthew. 2011. Amelia ii: A Program for Missing Data. Journal of Statistical Software 45 (7):147.
Kayser, Mark A., and Peress, Michael. 2012. Benchmarking Across Borders: Electoral Accountability and the Necessity of Comparison. American Political Science Review 106 (3):661684.
Kedar, Orit. 2005. When Moderate Voters Prefer Extreme Parties: Policy Balancing in Parliamentary Elections. American Political Science Review 99 (2):185199.
King, Gary, Honaker, James, Joseph, Anne, and Scheve, Kenneth. 2001. Analyzing Incomplete Political Science Data: An Alternative Algorithm for Multiple Imputation. American Political Science Review 95 (1):4970.
King, Gary, Tomz, Michael, and Wittenberg, Jason. 2000. Making the Most of Statistical Analyses: Improving Interpretation and Presentation. American Journal of Political Science 44 (2):347361.
Laver, M., and Shepsle, K.. 1996. Making and Breaking Governments: Cabinets and Legislatures in Parliamentary Democracies. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lewis, Jeffrey B., and Linzer, Drew A.. 2005. Estimating Regression Models in Which the Dependent Variable is Based On Estimates. Political Analysis 13 (4):345364.
Lipsmeyer, Christine S., and Pierce, Heather N.. 2011. The Eyes That Bind: Junior Ministers as Oversight Mechanisms in Coalition Governments. The Journal of Politics 73 (4):11521164.
Loewenstein, George F., Thompson, Leigh, and Bazerman, Max H.. 1989. Social Utility and Decision Making in Interpersonal Contexts. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 57 (3):426441.
Lupu, Noam. 2013. Party Brands and Partisanship: Theory With Evidence from a Survey Experiment in Argentina. American Journal of Political Science 57 (1):4964.
Luskin, Robert C. 1987. Measuring Political Sophistication. American Journal of Political Science 31:856899.
Mair, Peter, and Van Biezen, Ingrid. 2001. Party Membership in Twenty European Democracies, 1980–2000. Party Politics 7 (1):521.
Martin, Lanny W., and Stevenson, Randolph T.. 2001. Government Formation in Parliamentary Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 45 (1):3350.
Martin, Lanny W., and Vanberg, Georg. 2008. Coalition Government and Political Communication. Political Research Quarterly 61:502516.
Martin, Lanny W., and Vanberg, Georg. 2011. Parliaments and Coalitions: The Role of Legislative Institutions in Multiparty Governance. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Martin, Lanny W., and Vanberg, Georg. 2014. Parties and Policymaking in Multiparty Governments: The Legislative Median, Ministerial Autonomy, and the Coalition Compromise. American Journal of Political Science 58:979996.
Meguid, Bonnie M. 2005. Competition Between Unequals: The Role of Mainstream Party Strategy in Niche Party Success. American Political Science Review 99 (3):347359.
Miller, Warren E. 1991. Party Identification, Realignment, and Party Voting: Back to the Basics. The American Political Science Review 557568.
Morelli, Massimo. 1999. Demand Competition and Policy Compromise in Legislative Bargaining. American Political Science Review 93 (4):809820.
Mueller, John E. 1970. Presidential Popularity from Truman to Johnson. The American Political Science Review 1834.
Mueller, John E. 1973. War, Presidents, and Public Opinion. New York: Wiley.
Müller, Wolfgang C., and Strøm, Kaare. 1999. Policy, Office, or Votes?: How Political Parties in Western Europe Make Hard Decisions. New York and Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Müller, Wolfgang C., and Strøm, Kaare. 2003. Coalition Governments in Western Europe. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Nannestad, Peter, and Paldam, Martin. 2002. The Cost of Ruling. In Economic Voting, edited by H. Dorussen and M. Taylor, 1744. New York: Routledge.
Paldam, Martin, and Skott, Peter. 1995. A Rational-Voter Explanation of the Cost of Ruling. Public Choice 83 (1–2):159172.
Poguntke, Thomas. 2011. Germany. European Journal of Political Research: Political Data Yearbook 50 (7–8):980984.
Powell, G. Bingham. 2000. Elections as Instruments of Democracy: Majoritarian and Proportional Views. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.
Powell, G. Bingham, and Whitten, Guy D.. 1993. A Cross-National Analysis of Economic Voting: Taking Account of the Political Context. American Journal of Political Science 391414.
Prior, Markus. 2005. News vs. Entertainment: How Increasing Media Choice Widens Gaps in Political Knowledge and Turnout. American Journal of Political Science 49 (3):577592.
Ramirez, Mark D. 2009. The Dynamics of Partisan Conflict On Congressional Approval. American Journal of Political Science 53 (3):681694.
Rubin, Donald B. 2004. Multiple Imputation for Nonresponse in Surveys, Vol. 81. New York: John Wiley & Sons.
Scheve, Kenneth, and Tomz, Michael. 1999. Electoral Surprise and the Midterm Loss in US Congressional Elections. British Journal of Political Science 29 (3):507521.
Shively, W. Phillips. 1972. Party Identification, Party Choice, and Voting Stability: The Weimar Case. The American Political Science Review 66 (4):12031225.
Stevenson, Randolph T. 2002. The Cost of Ruling, Cabinet Duration, and the ‘Median-Gap’ Model. Public Choice 113 (1–2):157178.
Strøm, Kaare. 1990. A Behavioral Theory of Competitive Political Parties. American Journal of Political Science 34 (2):565598.
Strøm, Kaare, and Müller, Wolfgang C.. 1999. The Keys to Togetherness: Coalition Agreements in Parliamentary Democracies. The Journal of Legislative Studies 5 (3–4):255282.
Thies, Michael F. 2001. Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments. American Journal of Political Science 45 (3):580598.
Thompson, Leigh, Valley, Kathleen L., and Kramer, Roderick M.. 1995. The Bittersweet Feeling of Success: An Examination of Social Perception in Negotiation. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 31 (6):467492.
Train, Kenneth. 2003. Discrete Choice Methods with Simulation. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Tufte, Edward R. 1975. Determinants of the Outcomes of Midterm Congressional Elections. American Political Science Review 69 (3):812826.
Wells, Anthony. 2013. Voting Intention Since 2010. UK Polling Report. Available at http://ukpollingreport.co.uk/voting-intention-2.

Keywords

Type Description Title
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Fortunato Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown
PDF
Supplementary materials

Fortunato supplementary material
Fortunato supplementary material 1

 PDF (871 KB)
871 KB

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed