Unit 7: Party Goals: Office - University of California

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Unit 8: Party Goals: Policy vs. Office
Reserves:
Lijphart, Laver and Schofield
Dalton and Wattenberg CH 9
Mueller and Strom pgs. 36-88*
Guiding Questions
• What is coalition theory?
• What is a formateur? Informateur?
• How do we explain which parties get into
government?
▫ What do office based theories hypothesize?
▫ What do policy based theories hypothesize?
Parties at the Center of Government
• Democracies vary in terms of how they vest
executive and legislative authority.
• Classic theories predicated on the US (presidential)
and the UK (parliamentary) models.
▫ A long history in political theory.
• Attempt to prevent unchecked executive or
legislature rule.
• Presidential and parliamentary systems posit very
different relationships between the executive and
the legislature.
Reviewing Presidentialism and
Parliamentarism
PRESIDENTIALISM
PARLIAMENTARISM
• Executive and legislative
branches are elected
separately (separate origin).
• Cabinet members do not sit in
the legislative branch.
• Both branches are elected for a
fixed term.
• Neither branch can remove the
other except in extraordinary
circumstances (separate
survival).
• President as head of state and
head of government.
• Only the legislature is directly
elected.
• Prime Minister and the Cabinet
constitute the executive (collective
executive).
• Prime Minister and the Cabinet
come from the legislature (fused
power-shared origin).
• Prime Minister as head of
government; monarch or figurehead
president serves as a head of state
• Terms for the executive and the
legislature are not fixed.
• Confidence relationship exists
between the executive and
legislative branches (shared
survival).
Confidence Relationship
• Concept of responsible government defines
parliamentary systems.
• PM and his or her government must have the
confidence of the chamber (majority support).
▫ Legislature possesses authority to express no
confidence in the executive.
▫ Governments must resign if they lose a vote of
confidence.
• Executive (PM) has powers of dissolution.
▫ PM can typically dissolve the parliament and call for
new elections at any time.
• Strong party discipline is critical in parliamentary
systems.
Coalition Theory
• Many parliamentary systems use proportional representation to
elect representatives.
▫ This makes it difficult for one party to win more than 50% of the seats.
▫ Subsequently, parties wishing to enter government have to create a
coalition that cannot be defeated on a confidence vote.
• Coalition theory examines why certain parties enter government
and others do not.
• Following an election there are many possible coalitions.
▫ But not all are feasible.
▫ Some parties are always in government while others are always in
opposition.
• Why are certain parties more likely to enter government while
others do not seek to enter government at all?
▫ Literature offers both office based and policy based motivations for
entering government
Office Seeking Theories:
Minimal Winning Coalitions
• Von Neumann and Morgenstern 1953
▫ Theory is “policy blind”
▫ Conceives of government formation as a zero sum
game over the spoils of office
• Hypothesis: Minimal winning coalitions will
form.
• Minimal winning coalitions:
▫ Coalitions where every party is critical to maintaining
a majority (i.e. no superfluous parties).
• Observations: From 1945-1987, 35% of
coalitions formed followed this pattern.
Office Seeking Coalitions: Minimum
Winning Coalitions
• In large systems, several minimal winning
coalitions are possible.
• How do parties choose between minimal
winning coalitions?
• Riker 1962
• Hypothesis: Parties want to boost their
bargaining weight within a coalition, thus
minimum winning coalitions will form.
• Minimum winning coalitions:
▫ Coalitions consisting of parties with the smallest total
weight.
Iceland 1983
WL
WL-3
SD-6
TOTAL SEATS: 60
SDF-4
PA-10
PP-14
MAJORITY: 31
IP-23
• 63 possible coalitions.
• 7 possible minimal winning coalitions (no superfluous parties):
▫
▫
▫
▫
▫
37: IP/PP
34: PP/PA/SD/SDF
33: IP/PA; IP/SD/SDF; PP/PA/SD/WL
32: IP/SD/WL
31: PP/PA/SDF/WL
▫
31: PP/PA/SDF/WL
• 1 minimum winning coalition (minimal winning with smallest
weight):
• End result: IP and PP coalition.
Office Seeking Theories:
Minimal Connected Winning Coalitions
• Questions of which minimal coalition should be chosen still
plagued these theories.
• Axelrod 1970
▫ Policy “compatibility” reduces the number of viable
coalitions and eases bargaining.
• Hypothesis: Minimal connected winning coalitions will form.
• Minimal connected winning coalitions:
▫ Minimal winning coalitions made up of parties which are
ideological “neighbors”
• Loss of one party leaves a coalition which is either:
▫ 1) no longer winning
▫ 2) no longer connected
Italy 1972
PCI 179
PSI 61 PSDI 29
PRI 15 DC 267 PLI 20
MSI 56
630 TOTAL SEATS-MAJORITY IS 316-3 OTHER
• 127 coalitions were possible.
• 3 were minimal connected winning (MCW):
▫ PSI/PSDI/PRI/DC
▫ PSDI/PRI/DC/PLI
▫ DC/PLI/MSI.
• Any coalition including the MSI or the PCI was not an option.
• Five coalitions formed before new elections were held.
Italy 1972
• 1st: DC minority
government (267).
• 2nd: DC coalition
(minimum winning316).
• 3rd: DC coalition
(minimal connected
winning-372).
• 4th: DC coalition
(surplus majority-357
seats)
• 5th: DC minority
government (282).
Evaluating Office Based Theories
• Pure office based theories cannot address:
• 1) Why surplus parties are ever included in a
governing coalition?
▫ Example: Israel
• 2) Why minority governments form?
▫ Example: Denmark
• But policy based theories of coalition formation
can.
Policy Based Theories: Issue Dimensions
• Laver and Schofield 1998.
▫ Parties enter winning coalitions that will adopt
their preferred policy.
• Party controlling the median voter serves as the
“pivot” within the legislature.
▫ Sees the party holding the median voter as a
“policy dictator”
• Hypothesis: Coalitions will include the party
holding the median legislator.
Denmark 1966
SFP 20
SD 69
RV 13
V 34
KFP 35
179 SEATS TOTAL. 8 OTHERS. MAJ = 90
• The median legislator is a Social Democrat (SD).
▫ Any viable coalition would require SD support.
• Result: SD formed a minority government.
• Defeating the SD would require parties of the left and the
right to coalesce.
▫ Unlikely. So a party could govern without holding a majority
of seats.
Conclusions
• Median parties are well placed in coalition
bargaining talks.
• Laver and Schofield 1998:
▫ More than 80% of coalitions from 1945-1987
included or were supported by the median party.
• To suggest that parties care about policy does
not mean that they do not possess office seeking
goals.
▫ Understanding government formation requires us
to look at BOTH policy and office goals.
Case Study: Ireland
• Examine
▫ How the Irish political environment shapes party options.
 How do Irish parties typically rank policy, office, and votes?
▫ Labour’s coalition decisions
 What were the tradeoffs made between policy and votes in
negotiations with Fianna Fail and Fine Gael?
▫ Fine Gael’s (FG) Tallaght Strategy
 What did FG get out of supporting its nemesis in government?
▫ Fianna Fail’s (FF) decision to form a coalition.
 Why did a party that used to govern alone become willing to
share the spoils of office?
Case Study: Denmark
• Examine:
▫ Why were minority governments so viable within
the Danish case?
 That is, why would a party seek to form a minority
coalition?
 Why would other parties prefer to remain in
opposition rather than defeat a minority
government?
▫ Why do parties prefer to be seen as advancing
policy rather than office based motives?
Next Lecture
• Theme: Party Systems
▫ Ware pgs. 5-13
• Theme: Party Systems (Competition Models)
▫ Ware CH 5
▫ Electronic Reserves: Sartori
▫ Mueller and Strom pgs. 141-171

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