Michael Imre, Alejandro Ecker, Thomas M. Meyer, Wolfgang C. Müller
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands: coalition mood in European parliamentary democracies

Summer School of ECPR Standing Group on Parliaments, Lisbon, 23. Juli bis 02. August 2019

The mood among coalition partners in multiparty governments likely varies over time. The enthusiasm and unity after a government formation process will turn into frustration and anger, if the collaboration in government is not working well. Yet, these systematic and time-varying differences between multiparty governments have hardly been taken into account to assess the performance of multiparty governments. In this paper, we present a new approach to measure the coalition mood, defined as the atmosphere between government parties. Based on an automated analysis of over 175,000 plenary debates in Germany (1998-2015) and Austria (2003-2018), we develop a time-varying measure of the atmosphere among coalition partners using the applause during these debates. We conclude by highlighting future applications of the coalition mood for research on coalition politics and public policy.