Bicameralism and government formation: does bicameral incongruence affect bargaining delays?
Published online by Cambridge University Press: 08 July 2020
The effects of bicameral legislatures on government formation have attracted scholarly attention since Lijphart’s (1984) seminal contribution. Previous research found support for the ‘veto control hypothesis,’ showing that bicameralism affects coalition governments’ composition and duration. However, the effects of bicameralism on the duration of the bargaining process over government formation have yet to be explored. Our work contributes to this area of research by focusing on the impact of bicameralism on bargaining delays. We show that the duration of the bargaining process over government formation decreases at increasing levels of partisan incongruence of the two chambers, especially in those legislative assemblies in which the upper chamber plays a relevant role in the policy-making process. Such empirical evidence is in contrast with the conventional expectation according to which bicameralism should delay the government formation process, as it introduces an additional element of complexity in the bargaining environment. We test our hypothesis by using a novel data set about the partisan composition of upper and lower chambers in 12 Western and Eastern European democracies over the postwar period.
- Research Article
- © European Consortium for Political Research 2020