Coalition politics and accountability
[Politische Koalitionen und Verantwortung]
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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