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An Empirical Investigation of Coalitional Bargaining Procedures

  • Daniel Diermeier
  • Antoni Merlo

Models of government formation processes in multi-party democracies are unusually highly sensitive to the rules that govern the selection of formateurs. The formal literature has exclusively focused on two selection rules: selection proportional to seat share (Baron and Ferejohn 1989), and selection in order of seat share (Austen-Smith and Banks 1988). In this paper we use a new data set on government formation attempts in 12 multi-party democracies to empirically assess which selection rule most closely approximates the data. We find that while there is no empirical support for selection in order of seat share, proportional selection may serve as a good first approximation. However, our results also indicate that formateur selection exhibits a significant incumbency effect: ceteris paribus, the former prime minister's party is more likely to be selected to attempt the formation of the next government.

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Paper provided by Northwestern University, Center for Mathematical Studies in Economics and Management Science in its series Discussion Papers with number 1267.

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Date of creation: Jan 1999
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Handle: RePEc:nwu:cmsems:1267
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  1. Daniel Diermeier & Hulya Eraslan & Antonio Merlo, 2003. "A Structural Model of Government Formation," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 71(1), pages 27-70, January.
  2. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Torsten Persson & Gerard Roland & Guido Tabellini, . "Towards Micropolitical Foundations of Public Finance," Working Papers 119, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  4. David Austen-Smith, 2000. "Redistributing Income under Proportional Representation," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 108(6), pages 1235-1269, December.
  5. Diermeier, Daniel & Eraslan, Hulya & Merlo, Antonio, 2002. "Coalition governments and comparative constitutional design," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 46(4-5), pages 893-907, May.
  6. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, . "Political Economics and Public Finance," Working Papers 149, IGIER (Innocenzo Gasparini Institute for Economic Research), Bocconi University.
  7. Merlo, A., 1992. "Bargaining Over Governments in a Stochastic Environment," Working Papers 92-55, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  8. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gérard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Comparative Politics and Public Finance," CEPR Discussion Papers 1737, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Diermeier, Daniel & Merlo, Antonio, 2000. "Government Turnover in Parliamentary Democracies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 94(1), pages 46-79, September.
  10. Persson, Torsten & Roland, Gerard & Tabellini, Guido, 1997. "Separation of Powers and Political Accountability," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1163-1202, November.
  11. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1997. "Analyzing the case for government intervention in a representative democracy," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 2113, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  12. David P. Baron & Daniel Diermeier, 2001. "Elections, Governments, And Parliaments In Proportional Representation Systems," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(3), pages 933-967, August.
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