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Catherine Moury, "Coalition agreement and party mandate: How coalition agreements constrain the ministers," Party Politics, 17 (May, 2011), 385-404. [Available at ]

First paragraph:
Coalition governments are also party governments. Hence, the relationship between parties and ministers in coalition governments could be considered as involving double delegation: from the party organization to its own ministers and from the coalition of parties to individual ministers. Understanding these delegation processes is at the heart of politics: how do ministers behave in multiparty governments? What motivates their actions? How much leeway do coalition parties give their delegates?

Figures and Tables:
Figure 1. Pledges transferred into ministerial decisions
Figure 2. Important decisions adopted by ministers
Figure 3. Important decisions adopted by cabinet, not including those adopted in response to unexpected events requiring an immediate decision
Table 1. Cases selected
Table 2. Examples of pledges included in the coalition agreement and of their transfer into government decisions
Table 3. Examples of decisions and their origin
Table 4. Dependent variables and potentially explanatory variables for the transfer of a high proportion of pledges into government decisions

Last Paragraph:
(First paragraph of conclusin) In this article, I have argued that a coalition agreement can serve as a tool limiting the potential agency losses induced by the two fold delegation from coalition parties to ministers. My results support the argument, and I have shown that a significant majority (68 percent) of pledges included in the coalition agreement are translated into government decisions and that a similarly large majority of important cabinet decisions, not counting those responding to an unexpected event, originate in the coalition agreement (in testable pledges about actions). Remarkably, one-third of these decisions have even been precisely defined in the document. It is worth noting that the Italian governments, though underperforming regarding the fulfilment dimension, show a similar proportion of cabinet decisions based on the coalition agreement, despite the fact that they drafted coalition agreements before the elections and include a minority government.

Last updated April 2011