Coalition Government and Party Mandate : How Coalition Agreements Constrain Ministerial Action book cover
1st Edition

Coalition Government and Party Mandate
How Coalition Agreements Constrain Ministerial Action

ISBN 9781138821606
Published September 11, 2014 by Routledge
176 Pages 43 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Which kind of decisions are passed by Cabinet in coalition governments? What motivates ministerial action? How much leeway do coalition parties give their governmental representatives?

This book focuses on a comparative study of ministerial behaviour in Germany, Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands. It discredits the assumption that ministers are ‘policy dictators’ in their spheres of competence, and demonstrates that ministers are consistently and extensively constrained when deciding on policies. The first book in a new series at the forefront of research on social and political elites, this is an invaluable insight into the capacity and power of coalition government across Europe.

Looking at policy formation through coalition agreements and the effectiveness of such agreements, Coalition Government and Party Mandate will be of interest to students and scholars of comparative politics, governance and European politics.

Table of Contents

1. Introduction  2. Theorizing coalition agreements  3. Methodological choices  4. case study one: Germany (by Catherine Moury and Mark Ferguson) 5. case study two: Belgium 6. case study three: the Netherlands (by Catherine Moury and Arco Timmermans) 7. case study four: Italy  8. Coalition agreements and Cabinet decision-making in four countries  9. Explaining variation across cases: Preliminary Findings  10. Conclusion

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Catherine Moury is Assistant Professor at NOVA University, Lisbon, and researcher at CIES-IUL. Her research focuses on institutional change in the European Union and on coalition governments.


"Professor Moury has provided us with the first true comparative empirical understanding of what goes on inside Western Europen coalition governments. She does so by examining in depth the part which 'coalition agremements' play and shows that part to be truly very large. As a result of her many empirical findings, moreover, one overall conclusion which emerges is that, deep down, coalition agreements help to maintain the true nature of cabinet govenrment: they do so by promoting 'collectivism' against the widespread tendency of prime ministers to assume a controlling function and against the potentially overwhelming desire of parties - and in particular of party leaders - to dominate the actions of cabinet ministers." - Jean Blondel, Professor Emeritus of The European University Institute