Legislative Review and Party Differentiation in Coalition Governments

23 Pages Posted: 31 Jan 2012 Last revised: 3 Dec 2012

See all articles by David Fortunato

David Fortunato

University of California, Merced - School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts

Abstract

Coalition governance requires compromise and this compromise can lead to electoral losses. In this essay I argue that coalition parties are motivated to differentiate themselves from their partners in order mitigate possible electoral losses resulting from voters perceiving them as too cooperative, not rigorously pursuing their core policy positions, or selling out. I support this argument with original data on the legislative review process in Belgium, Denmark, and the Netherlands that incorporates data on voter perceptions of partisan ideology. I find that coalition parties amend the legislation of their partners more freely when they are perceived by voters as growing more similar to their partners — an indication that voters perceive an overly accommodative policy process; i.e., that the parties are not vehemently pursuing their core policies. The findings presented here serve to improve our understanding of coalition politics and legislative review in consensual democracies. This essay is also novel in that it is the first essay to incorporate voters directly into a comparative empirical model of legislative behavior, rather than simply assuming an electoral connection.

Keywords: coalition government, legislative review, party policy position, voter perceptions, electoral connection

Suggested Citation

Fortunato, David, Legislative Review and Party Differentiation in Coalition Governments. APSA 2010 Annual Meeting Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1642438

David Fortunato (Contact Author)

University of California, Merced - School of Social Sciences, Humanities and Arts ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

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