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Coalition Policy in Parliamentary Democracies:Who Gets How Much and Why

Comparative Political Studies , Volume 34 (10): 1212 – Dec 1, 2001


Sage Publications
Copyright © 2001 by SAGE Publications
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Coalition Policy in Parliamentary Democracies:Who Gets How Much and Why


This study investigates several hypotheses relating to the policy positions adopted by coalition governments in parliamentary democracies. Previous research, based on the comparative manifestos project's coding of party manifestos and coalition government declarations, has found that the linkage between the left-right positions of coalition governments and the positions of the parties that compose them is surprisingly weak. This investigation uses the same data to reveal a much closer correspondence between the two in West European systems. This linkage initially appeared to be weak because it is partially masked by additional influences on government policy emanating from the formateur party, the finance minister's party, the external support parties sustaining the government (if any), and the parliamentary center of gravity. In addition, government policy is affected by the position of the preceding government and shows a marked tendency to drift rightward with the passage of time since the last election.
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