How are payoffs distributed in multiparty governments? In most parliamentary democracies, political parties have to form multiparty cabinets in order to gain access to office. Coalition parties thus have to come to an agreement on which policies should be implemented during the time of office, and on a distribution of ministerial portfolios.
While the literature on coalition governments has devoted considerable attention to predicting the allocation of ministerial portfolios, the allocation of policy payoffs has largely been neglected. We argue that payoff allocation in coalition negotiations should be treated as a two-dimensional bargaining process in which political parties simultaneously negotiate about the policy agenda for the upcoming legislative term, and about the distribution of ministerial portfolios.
More specifically, we expect that there is a trade-off between policy and office benefits so that control over a ministerial portfolio decreases a party’s policy payoffs in that policy area. Our theoretical expectations are evaluated drawing on a new comparative dataset generated by a comprehensive quantitative content analysis of coalition agreements. Using this novel dataset, we analyze policy payoff allocation in 224 multiparty cabinets in 24 Western and Eastern European countries from 1945 until 2015. Our results, which support our argument that payoff allocation in coalition governments is a two-dimensional process, have important implications for our understanding of coalition formation and governance in multiparty systems.
Heike Klüver is Full Professor and Chair of Comparative Political Behavior at Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. She previously held positions at the University of Hamburg, the University of Bamberg and the University of Konstanz and was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Nuffield College at the University of Oxford.
Heike Klüver received her PhD from the University of Mannheim. Her research interests include Political Parties, Coalition Governments, Interest groups, Political Representation as well as Quantitative Text Analysis. Her work has been published amongst others in the American Journal of Political Science, the Journal of Politics, in Comparative Political Studies, the British Journal of Political Science and at Oxford University Press.