Item Details

Overcoming Electoral Uncertainty: Strategic Incentives for Pre-Electoral Coalition Entry

Nagashima, Daniel
Thesis/Dissertation; Online
Nagashima, Daniel
Mershon, Carol
Schoppa, Leonard
Gingerich, Daniel
Why do some parties coordinate and form electoral coalitions before contesting elections while other parties compete independently and form government coalitions after elections? Under what conditions do parties form pre-electoral coalitions, and under what conditions do parties “go it alone” and contest elections independently? This study argues that parties are rational, utility-maximizing actors who simultaneously weigh vote-, office-, and policy-seeking interests. However, as parties considering coalitions in the pre-electoral arena, parties are first and foremost interested in maximizing seats. As parties weigh the costs and benefits of pre-electoral coalition (PEC) formation, they must also consider the effects of electoral institutions. This study argues that moderately disproportional, multiparty electoral systems increase the probability of PEC formation. Specifically, majoritarian and mixed electoral systems increase the probability of PEC formation. Utilizing time series, cross-sectional data, the empirical analysis finds that majoritarian and mixed electoral systems increase the likelihood that parties enter into PECs. The theoretical hypothesis is further illustrated using three case studies of Japan, Italy, and Belgium. The case studies illustrate how PECs are not some deterministic outcome or functional equilibrium of electoral systems. Rather, PECs can be the result of a process of adaptation and learning by political parties who, through iterative games, find PECs to be of strategic interest.
Date Received
University of Virginia, Department of Politics, PHD (Doctor of Philosophy), 2015
Published Date
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
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