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What Determines the Length of a Typical Canadian Parliamentary Government?

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 December 2009

J. Stephen Ferris*
Carleton University
Marcel-Cristian Voia*
Carleton University
J. Stephen Ferris, Department of Economics, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada.
Marcel-Cristian Voia, Department of Economics, Carleton University, 1125 Colonel By Drive, Ottawa, Ontario K1S 5B6, Canada.


Abstract. In this paper we examine the length of political tenure in Canadian federally elected parliamentary governments since 1867. Using annual data on tenure length, we categorize the distribution of governing tenures in terms of a hazard function: the probability that an election will arise in each year, given that an election has not yet been called. Structuring the election call as an optimal stopping rule, we test whether that distribution responds predictably to characteristics of the political and/or economic environment. The results of using the continuous Cox and Gompertz models together with the discrete semi-parametric proportional hazard model suggest that governing parties in Canada do engage in election timing and that the only economic policy measure that is used consistently in conjunction with election timing is fiscal expenditure.

Résumé. Dans cet ouvrage, nous examinons la durée d'un régime parlementaire canadien depuis la Confédération de 1867. Nous utilisons des données annuelles et nous représentons la distribution de durée de vie d'un gouvernement par une fonction de hazard, c'est-a-dire, la probabilité qu'une élection soit déclenchée durant une année spécifique étant donné qu'elle ne l'a pas encore été jusqu'à présent. Nous modélisons un déclenchement d'élection par une règle d'arrêt optimal el nous testons si la distribution dépend des caractéristiques de l'environnement politique et économique tel que prédit selon la théorie. Nous résultats basés les modèles de hazard proportionnel continu de type Cox et Gompertz et discret semi-paramétrique révèlent que les partis fédéraux au pouvoir au Canada choisissent le moment opportun pour déclencher une élection. De plus, les dépenses fiscales sont la seule variable de politique économique qui y soit systématiquement relié.

Research Article
Copyright © Canadian Political Science Association 2009

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