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Multiparty government and economic policy-making : Coalition agreements, prime ministerial power and spending in Western European Cabinets

Bäck, Hanna LU ; Müller, Wolfgang C. and Nyblade, Benjamin (2017) In Public Choice 170(1-2). p.33-62
Abstract

Multiparty government has often been associated with poor economic policy-making, with distortions like lower growth rates and high budget deficits. One proposed reason for such distortions is that coalition governments face more severe ‘common pool problems’ since parties use their control over specific ministries to advance their specific spending priorities rather than practice budgetary discipline. We suggest that this view of multiparty government is incomplete and that we need to take into account that coalitions may have established certain control mechanisms to deal with such problems. One such mechanism is the drafting of a coalition agreement. Our results, when focusing on the spending behavior of cabinets formed in 17 Western... (More)

Multiparty government has often been associated with poor economic policy-making, with distortions like lower growth rates and high budget deficits. One proposed reason for such distortions is that coalition governments face more severe ‘common pool problems’ since parties use their control over specific ministries to advance their specific spending priorities rather than practice budgetary discipline. We suggest that this view of multiparty government is incomplete and that we need to take into account that coalitions may have established certain control mechanisms to deal with such problems. One such mechanism is the drafting of a coalition agreement. Our results, when focusing on the spending behavior of cabinets formed in 17 Western European countries (1970–1998), support our claim that coalition agreements matter for the performance of multiparty cabinets in economic policy-making. More specifically, we find clear support for an original conditional hypothesis suggesting that coalition agreements significantly reduce the negative effect of government fragmentation on government spending in those institutional contexts where prime ministerial power is low.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Coalition agreements, Government spending, Multiparty government, Prime ministerial power
in
Public Choice
volume
170
issue
1-2
pages
30 pages
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • scopus:84991738196
  • wos:000388837000002
ISSN
0048-5829
DOI
10.1007/s11127-016-0373-0
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9b8de1b4-2ad1-4457-9442-5fcde1f6d3d7
date added to LUP
2016-11-14 13:41:48
date last changed
2018-04-08 04:50:39
@article{9b8de1b4-2ad1-4457-9442-5fcde1f6d3d7,
  abstract     = {<p>Multiparty government has often been associated with poor economic policy-making, with distortions like lower growth rates and high budget deficits. One proposed reason for such distortions is that coalition governments face more severe ‘common pool problems’ since parties use their control over specific ministries to advance their specific spending priorities rather than practice budgetary discipline. We suggest that this view of multiparty government is incomplete and that we need to take into account that coalitions may have established certain control mechanisms to deal with such problems. One such mechanism is the drafting of a coalition agreement. Our results, when focusing on the spending behavior of cabinets formed in 17 Western European countries (1970–1998), support our claim that coalition agreements matter for the performance of multiparty cabinets in economic policy-making. More specifically, we find clear support for an original conditional hypothesis suggesting that coalition agreements significantly reduce the negative effect of government fragmentation on government spending in those institutional contexts where prime ministerial power is low.</p>},
  author       = {Bäck, Hanna and Müller, Wolfgang C. and Nyblade, Benjamin},
  issn         = {0048-5829},
  keyword      = {Coalition agreements,Government spending,Multiparty government,Prime ministerial power},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1-2},
  pages        = {33--62},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Public Choice},
  title        = {Multiparty government and economic policy-making : Coalition agreements, prime ministerial power and spending in Western European Cabinets},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11127-016-0373-0},
  volume       = {170},
  year         = {2017},
}