Decision-Making in Coalition Governments: Compromise and Compartmentalization Nested in a Prisoner's Dilemma
40 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2013
Date Written: August 10, 2011
At an extreme, partners in coalition governments can divide tasks and individually decide policy in their ministerial jurisdictions. At the other extreme, parties sharing oce can compromise and collectively set policy in each dimension regardless of portfolio allocation. This paper provides a theoretical account of this variation assuming that coalitions have to delegate policy agreements to individual ministers (and thus to individual parties) for its implementation. We suggest that a prisoner's dilemma provides an appropriate framework to understand when will coalitions be more likely to end up in a mutual defection scenario (a compartmentalized cabinet) or in a mutual cooperation one (a compromise cabinet). Parties' broad vs. single-issue orientation, ideological distance, bargaining alternatives in the party system, and valuation of the future emerge as important factors.
Keywords: Coalition Politics, Decision-making, Coalition Governance, Compromise, Compartmentalization
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