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Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments

Michael F. Thies
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 45, No. 3 (Jul., 2001), pp. 580-598
DOI: 10.2307/2669240
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2669240
Page Count: 19
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Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments
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Abstract

Parties in coalition governments must delegate to each other. Can coalition partners hold each other's ministers accountable, or must collective government degenerate to ministerial government? In this article, I theorize about the conditions under which coalition partners should make efforts to keep tabs on each other's ministers and the ways in which they might do so. I show that parties in Italian, Dutch, and multiparty Japanese coalitions used their allotments of junior ministerial positions to shadow each other's ministers, while parties in German coalitions relied instead on institutional devices to tie ministers' hands. I also find that during the LDP's long reign as a majority party in Japan, its factions kept tabs on each other's ministers in this same way. Finally, I demonstrate that parties were more likely to keep tabs on each other's ministers for the most important ministerial portfolios.

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