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Party Goals and Government Performance in Parliamentary Democracies

Kaare Strom
The American Political Science Review
Vol. 79, No. 3 (Sep., 1985), pp. 738-754
DOI: 10.2307/1956841
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1956841
Page Count: 17
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Party Goals and Government Performance in Parliamentary Democracies
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Abstract

From assumptions of parties as rational actors, this study develops four measures of government performance: duration, mode of resignation, subsequent alternation, and electoral success. These measures are used in a test of competing hypotheses concerning minority government performance in parliamentary democracies. Minority governments are conventionally portrayed as poor performers, but tests of this proposition have been seriously limited. An alternative hypothesis depicts minority governments as rational cabinet solutions without significant performance liabilities. These hypotheses are tested against an extensive cross-national data set including 323 postwar governments in 15 parliamentary democracies. The conventional wisdom about minority governments is not supported by the evidence. In some respects, minority governments are clearly superior to majority coalitions. Moreover, minority government formation may enhance systemic responsiveness and accountability. The findings support the explanation of minority governments as rational cabinet solutions.

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