Partisan Portfolio Allocation in African Democracies

Posted: 27 Sep 2015 Last revised: 23 Apr 2017

See all articles by Margaret Ariotti

Margaret Ariotti

Pennsylvania State University, Students

Sona N. Golder

Pennsylvania State University

Date Written: September 17, 2015


What determines partisan portfolio allocation in African democracies? Despite the vast literature on government formation in Europe and Latin America, there have been no studies of partisan portfolio allocation in Africa. Although coalition governments are increasingly common in Africa, most studies focus on national leaders, and, thus, we know little about how ministerial posts are divided among cabinet parties. Using an original dataset of coalition governments in Africa from 1990 to 2014, we show that existing theories of partisan portfolio allocation can be successfully applied to African democracies. We find that African parties receive ministerial portfolios in rough proportion to their size, that formateur parties in Africa receive more ministerial portfolios than their European counterparts, and that the 'formateur bonus' is greater in Africa’s presidential democracies than in its parliamentary ones. Our analyses suggest that scholars can benefit from paying more attention to both coalition governments and legislatures in their analyses of African politics.

Suggested Citation

Ariotti, Margaret and Golder, Sona N., Partisan Portfolio Allocation in African Democracies (September 17, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Margaret Ariotti (Contact Author)

Pennsylvania State University, Students ( email )

State College, PA
United States

Sona N. Golder

Pennsylvania State University ( email )

University Park
State College, PA 16802
United States

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