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Dissolvers, disputers, and defectors: the terminators of parliamentary governments

  • Paul V. Warwick (a1)
Abstract

Theoretical work on parliamentary government leads to the expectation that parties will defect from governing coalitions when they anticipate greater payoffs in replacement governments or after new elections; similarly, governments as a whole (or their prime ministers) will dissolve legislatures prematurely with the same expectation in mind. Surprisingly, however, very little empirical work has been done to assess the extent to which defectors from or dissolvers of coalition governments actually manage to profit from their actions. We also know very little about what happens to coalition members who engage in government-ending disputes. The purpose of this paper is to address these deficiencies by examining the fates of dissolvers, defectors, and disputers in West European democratic systems since 1945. The results show that parties generally end up no better off, and usually worse off, in terms of measurable benefits when they engage in these types of action.

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* E-mail: warwick@sfu.ca
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European Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 1755-7739
  • EISSN: 1755-7747
  • URL: /core/journals/european-political-science-review
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