An Empirical Investigation of Coalitional Bargaining Procedures

21 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2001

Date Written: October 2001


Models of government formation processes in multi party democracies are usually highly sensitive to the rules that govern the selection of formateurs (i.e., the parties selected to propose a potential government). The theoretical literature has focused on two selection rules: selection proportional to seat share, and selection in order of seat share. In this paper we use a new data set on government formations in 11 parliamentary democracies to empirically assess which selection rule most closely approximates the data. We find that while there is little empirical support for selection in order of seat share, proportional selection fits the data well.

Keywords: Government Formation, Proposer Selection, Bargaining Procedures

JEL Classification: D72, H19

Suggested Citation

Diermeier, Daniel and Merlo, Antonio M., An Empirical Investigation of Coalitional Bargaining Procedures (October 2001). PIER Working Paper No. 01-042. Available at SSRN: or

Daniel Diermeier

Northwestern University - Kellogg School of Management ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

Antonio M. Merlo (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania - Department of Economics ( email )

Ronald O. Perelman Center for Political Science
133 South 36th Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104-6297
United States
215-898-7933 (Phone)
215-573-2057 (Fax)


Rice University ( email )

6100 South Main Street
Houston, TX 77005-1892
United States

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