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Coalition Policymaking and Legislative Review

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  04 April 2005

LANNY W. MARTIN
Affiliation:
Rice University
GEORG VANBERG
Affiliation:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Abstract

Political scientists know remarkably little about the extent to which legislatures are able to influence policymaking in parliamentary democracies. In this article, we focus on the influence of legislative institutions in periods of coalition government. We show that multiparty governments are plagued by “agency” problems created by delegation to cabinet ministers that increase in severity on issues that divide the coalition. We also argue that the process of legislative review presents an important—but understudied—institutional opportunity for coalition partners to overcome these tensions. We evaluate our argument using original legislative data on over 300 government bills collected from two parliamentary democracies. The central implication of our findings is that legislatures play a more important role in parliamentary democracies than is usually appreciated by providing a key institutional mechanism that allows coalition partners with divergent preferences to govern successfully.

Type
ARTICLES
Copyright
© 2005 by the American Political Science Association

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