Party Controls in Coalitions: Why They Control the Way They Control
This paper presents an attempt to join insights form the literature on party organization and the principal-agent inspired literature on monitoring within coalition governments. I address the question of which monitoring devices parties are likely to strategically choose when they are in a position to. The focus is on accounting for the existence of Coalition Commitees as arenas which include both members of party organizations and the cabinet. I argue that the degree to which parties are entrenched in a state shapes their resources to enter an informal arena like the CoC. Parties with a strong ‘grip’ on the state will be able to extend their say in government decision-makings. Two sets of actors initiate a CoC. First, party leaders a have incentives to maintain a distinct party profile and will thus, their resources allowing, engage in monitoring activities in which they themselves can participate. Second, resourceful parliamentary party groups have blackmail potential over the executive and can likewise opt for a forum to participate in decision-making. The resulting hypotheses are tested based on comparative data for Western European countries. I find preliminary confirmation for the patterns the theory posits.