Coalition Inclusion Probabilities: A Dynamic Measure of Party Competitiveness and Cabinet Leverage

William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Mark Kayser

The paper that Mark Kayser will be presenting is co-authored by Matthias Orlowski (Humboldt University, Berlin) and Jochen Rehmert (Hertie School of Governance, Berlin).

Synopsis:  Policies are made with one eye cast to the future. As policy is most strongly influenced from within government, coalition inclusion prospects would seem predictive of the behavior of office- or policy-seeking parties. But, oddly, coalition models are poorly designed for empirical prediction. Most theoretical models rely predominantly on seat shares and ideological distance while empirical work tells us that other variables such as coalition history and anti-system parties matter as much; most empirical models predict coalition composition rather than individual parties’ coalition probabilities; neither calculate bargaining leverage between elections and neither test their predictions out of sample. We do. Combining empirical coalition formation models and a large set of political polls, we estimate coalition inclusion probabilities for parties in a sample of 20 parliamentary democracies at a monthly frequency over four decades. The probability of entering or remaining in an alternative government – i.e., bargaining leverage – serves as a strong predictor of party behavior, markedly superior to polls or expected seat shares. We demonstrate our measure’s utility with applications to no-confidence motions and financial policy reform.

Photo of Mark Kayser, Hertie School of Governance, Berlin.

Mark Kayser teaches applied quantitative methods and comparative politics at the Hertie School of Governance in Berlin. His research generally centers on elections and political economy.  Current major projects focus on partisan responses to economic crisis, the electoral effects of media reporting of the economy, and the effect of electoral competitiveness on government responsiveness. Before coming to the Hertie School of Governance, he served as an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester.  He has also held a postdoctoral Prize Research Fellowship at Nuffield College, Oxford and will spend the 2018-19 academic year as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Studies in the Behavioral Sciences (CASBS) at Stanford. He is the co-author of a book on the effect of electoral systems on regulation and price levels (Cambridge University Press, 2011) and the author or co-author of articles in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Political Analysis and other leading journals. He is a recipient of the 2013 GESIS/Klingemann research award, the 2007 best paper award from the APSA Section on European Politics and Society, the Senior Editor for Political Economy of the Oxford Research Encyclopdia and a member of several editorial boards.