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Coalition politics and accountability


  • Áron Kiss



The paper introduces the possibility of coalition government into the theoretical study of political accountability and analyzes the accountability of coalitions as a problem of team production. It is shown that coalition governments can be held accountable in the presence of an electoral alternative. Accountability becomes problematic if it is certain that at least one of the coalition parties stays in power after the elections. Such a coalition (sometimes called a ‘unity government’) cannot be given appropriate collective incentives. To incentivize government performance, voters make one coalition party responsible for the outcome. This, however, makes the other coalition party interested in sabotage. The paper analyzes the resulting conflict and characterizes optimal voter strategy.
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Suggested Citation

  • Áron Kiss, 2009. "Coalition politics and accountability," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 139(3), pages 413-428, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:139:y:2009:i:3:p:413-428
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-009-9401-7

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. Kiss, Áron, 2012. "Divisive politics and accountability," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(2), pages 208-214.
    2. Maria Paola & Vincenzo Scoppa, 2011. "Political competition and politician quality: evidence from Italian municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 148(3), pages 547-559, September.

    More about this item


    Political accountability; Coalitions; All-pay auctions; Unity government; Team production; D72; H11;

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government


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