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Parties Getting Impatient: Time Out of Office and Portfolio Allocation in Coalition Governments


This article argues that long periods out of office make parties impatient and more willing to make concessions over portfolio allocation in exchange for participation in a coalition cabinet. Two hypotheses are analysed: on the one hand, being in opposition for a long time should put parties at a disadvantage when bargaining over office payoffs. On the other, this effect should not apply to the formateur party, since formation offers are based on the receivers’ impatience. The empirical results largely support these expectations. Additional evidence of the causality of the main effect is obtained through the use of matching techniques based on the propensity score.

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William A. Gamson , ‘An Experimental Test of a Theory of Coalition Formation’, American Sociological Review, 26 (1961), 565573

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Paul V. Warwick and James N. Druckman . ‘The Portfolio Allocation Paradox: An Investigation into the Nature of a Very Strong but Puzzling Relationship’, European Journal of Political Research, 45 (2006), p. 657

Paul Rosenbaum and Donald B. Rubin , ‘The Central Role of the Propensity Score in Observational Studies for Causal Effects’, Biometrika, 70 (1983), 4155

Marco Caliendo and Sabine Kopeinig , ‘Some Practical Guidance for the Implementation of Propensity Score Matching’, Journal of Economic Surveys, 22 (2008), 3172

Donald B. Rubin and Neal Thomas , ‘Matching Using Estimated Propensity Scores: Relating Theory to Practice’, Biometrics, 52 (1996), 249264

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British Journal of Political Science
  • ISSN: 0007-1234
  • EISSN: 1469-2112
  • URL: /core/journals/british-journal-of-political-science
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