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A Copula Approach to the Problem of Selection Bias in Models of Government Survival

  • Daina Chiba (a1), Lanny W. Martin (a2) and Randolph T. Stevenson (a3)


Theories of coalition politics in parliamentary democracies have suggested that government formation and survival are jointly determined outcomes. An important empirical implication of these theories is that the sample of observed governments analyzed in studies of government survival may be nonrandomly selected from the population of potential governments. This can lead to serious inferential problems. Unfortunately, current empirical models of government survival are unable to account for the possible biases arising from nonrandom selection. In this study, we use a copula-based framework to assess, and correct for, the dependence between the processes of government formation and survival. Our results suggest that existing studies of government survival, by ignoring the selection problem, overstate the substantive importance of several covariates commonly included in empirical models.


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Authors' note: Supplementary materials for this article are available on the Political Analysis web site. Replication files are available on the Political Analysis Dataverse at



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Political Analysis
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