Thomas Gschwend, Michael F. Meffert, Lukas Stötzer
Weighting Parties and Coalitions: How Coalition Signals Influence Voting Behavior

The Journal of Politics, 2017: 79, issue 2, pp. 642-655
ISSN: 0022-3816 (print); 1468-2508 (online)

Democratic accountability is characterized as weak in parliamentary systems where voters cannot choose their government directly. We argue that coalition signals about desirable and undesirable coalitions that might be formed after the election help to provide this essential aspect of democratic government. We propose a simple model that identi es the e ect of coalition signals on individual vote decisions. Based on survey experiments in two di erent countries we show how coalition signals change the relative weight of voters' party and coalition considerations. Coalition signals increase the importance of coalition considerations and, at the same time, decrease the importance of party considerations in voters' decision calculus, leading some voters to change their vote intention.