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Bargaining complexity and the duration of government formation: evidence from Flemish municipalities


  • Tom Blockmans

    () (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

  • Benny Geys

    (Norwegian Business School (BI))

  • Bruno Heyndels

    (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)

  • Bram Mahieu

    (Vrije Universiteit Brussel)


Abstract Government formation processes have attracted a substantial amount of scholarly attention. Yet, only few scholars try to explain the duration of government formations. This article extends the latter literature by examining the relation between the complexity of the bargaining environment and the duration of government formations at the local government level. We show that increased bargaining complexity—reflected in parties’ ideological similarity, a larger number of potential bargaining partners, and an election result allowing for a larger set of mathematically feasible governments—is associated with longer bargaining delays.

Suggested Citation

  • Tom Blockmans & Benny Geys & Bruno Heyndels & Bram Mahieu, 2016. "Bargaining complexity and the duration of government formation: evidence from Flemish municipalities," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 167(1), pages 131-143, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:167:y:2016:i:1:d:10.1007_s11127-016-0333-8
    DOI: 10.1007/s11127-016-0333-8

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Diermeier, Daniel & Van Roozendaal, Peter, 1998. "The Duration of Cabinet Formation Processes in Western Multi-Party Democracies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 28(04), pages 609-626, October.
    2. Laver, Michael & Rallings, Colin & Thrasher, Michael, 1987. "Coalition Theory and Local Government: Coalition Payoffs in Britain," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 17(04), pages 501-509, October.
    3. Per Tovmo, 2007. "Budgetary Procedures and Deficits in Norwegian Local Governments," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 8(1), pages 37-49, January.
    4. Dimi Jottier & John Ashworth & Bruno Heyndels, 2012. "Understanding Voters' Preferences: How the Electorate's Complexity Affects Prediction Accuracy and Wishful Thinking among Politicians with Respect to Election Outcomes," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 340-370, August.
    5. Martin, Lanny W. & Vanberg, Georg, 2003. "Wasting Time? The Impact of Ideology and Size on Delay in Coalition Formation," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 33(02), pages 323-332, April.
    6. Golder, Sona Nadenichek, 2006. "Pre-Electoral Coalition Formation in Parliamentary Democracies," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 36(02), pages 193-212, April.
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