Economic Performance, Political Institutions and Cabinet Durability in 28 European Parliamentary Democracies, 1945–2011

Faculty/Professorship: Comparative Politics  
Author(s): Saalfeld, Thomas  
Title of the compilation: Party governance and party democracy : Festschrift to Kaare Strøm
Editors: Müller, Wolfgang C.; Narud, Hanne Marthe
Publisher Information: New York, NY [u.a.] : Springer
Year of publication: 2013
Pages: 51-79 ; Diagramme
ISBN: 978-1-4614-6587-4
Language(s): English
DOI: 10.1007/978-1-4614-6588-1_4
After reviewing the literature on cabinet terminations and demonstrating the progress from early
explanations based on the structural attributes of cabinets and their political environment to increasingly
sophisticated ‘unified’ models of strategic responses to exogenous shocks, this chapter will (a) discuss
ways of using existing datasets to operationalize one of these unified models, Lupia and Strøm’s influential
model of strategic cabinet termination (focusing on the conditions of political institutions to influence the
costs of governing under the impact of exogenous shocks such as economic crises); and (b) test a version
of it empirically by using a competing-risk design and a new set of political and economic data covering 28
European democracies over a period of more than 60 years. It is found that strong increases in
unemployment were particularly destructive for European cabinets, whereas the impact of inflation seems
to be mitigated by political and strategic factors. Duration-dependent effects—unemployment increasing
the risk of early elections towards the end of a parliamentary term and increasing the risk of non-electoral
cabinet replacements at its beginning—are small but significant, corroborating some of the strategic
predictions of the Lupia–Strøm model.
Keywords: coalitions, coalition government, coalition durability, economic performance, survival analysis
Type: Contribution to an Articlecollection
Year of publication: 7. June 2013