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Not always on an equal footing: power, partiality and the conditional effect of multiparty government on public spending

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  19 August 2019

Juha Ylisalo*
Department of Philosophy, Contemporary History and Political Science, University of Turku, Turku, Finland


Public spending arguably increases with the number of parties in government as each party seeks to secure benefits to its target groups. In this study, two factors that affect the budgetary consequences of multiparty government are identified. The first is the distribution of a priori voting power. An uneven distribution of voting power implies that all government parties are not expected to be equally successful in budgetary negotiations. The second is the degree of impartiality of the public sector. If the public sector is characterized by corruption and other forms of partiality, distributive issues can be expected to gain importance in representative politics. An analysis of data from 30 European countries suggests that changes in the number of government parties are associated with changes in public spending in cases where equally powerful parties are in government and the public sector is relatively partial.

Research Article
© European Consortium for Political Research 2019 

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