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Hanna Bäck, "Intra-Party Politics and Coalition Formation: Evidence from Swedish Local Government," Party Politics, 14 (January, 2008), 71-89.

First paragraph:
The subject of this article is coalition formation. The fact that, in most parliamentary democracies, no party typically gains a majority of the seats in the legislature implies that no one party can take control of government without the support of other parties. This means that coalitions 'become a necessity', and coalition formation is thus an important phenomenon that follows elections in most parliamentary countries (Mu.ller and Strøm, 2000: 1). It is thus no surprise that coalition formation has been a favourite subject for political scientists for over half a century, and that a number of theories about coalition formation have been presented.

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Two methodological approaches and hypotheses evaluated
Table 2. Factionalization and intra-party democracy across parties
Table 3. Logit analysis of a party's likelihood of being in government
Table 4. Conditional logit analysis including important controls

Last paragraph:
I have suggested several mechanisms that could explain why factionalization and intra-party democracy have negative effects on a party's likelihood of getting into government. For example, a high level of factionalization could affect the efficiency with which parties bargain. Parties that are highly factionalized may, for example, have problems acting as unitary actors and in reaching decisions about which partners the party should choose, since the members have highly divergent policy views. Factionalization within a party could also affect other parties' evaluations of that party. Parties may for example view a factionalized party as being less likely to deliver the goods, in terms of getting all its members to vote a specific way. A high level of intra-party democracy could also affect a party's bargaining efficiency, since leaders in highly democratic parties may have to spend a significant amount of time and effort during bargaining seeking their members' approval before making important bargaining deals. Intra-party democracy could also adversely affect the way in which a party is perceived. For example, an internally democratic party may allow more open internal dissension, which could render it difficult for other parties to place it ideologically. This could make risk-averse actors shy away from cooperating with such a party. Since it is not clear which causal mechanisms are at work, future research should investigate the mechanisms underlying effects of variables stressing that intra-party politics matter in coalition formation.

Last update December 2007