Explaining Coalitions
Evidence & Lessons from Studying Coalition
Formation in Swedish Local Government

By Hanna Back
December 2003
Uppsala University Press
ISBN: 91-554-5680-4
211 pages, 6 " x 9 "
$59.50 Paper Original


This is a Ph.D. dissertation. Why do Social Democratic parties and Conservative parties only align in a government coalition on very rare occasions? Why are minority governments more common in some parliamentary systems rather than others? Why do some parties rarely participate in government? All of these questions seek to explain why certain coalition governments form. This book attempts to answer these questions by applying coalition theories to a new data set comprised of coalitions in Swedish local government. By applying several statistical models to unique survey data gathered among a large number of council members, and by performing an in-depth analysis of a small number of cases, some important conclusions can be drawn about coalition formation. One conclusion of this investigation is that parties are motivated by multiple goals, such as office seeking, policy-seeking and vote-seeking goals when forming coalitions. The results also show that parties that are characterized by a high level of intra-party democracy and parties that are factionalized are less likely to be included in government, and that the history of interaction between parties affect their coalitional choices.

Political Science

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