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

3-Länder-Tagung DVPW, ÖGPW, SVPW, Zürich, February 14th to February 16th, 2019

The mood among coalition partners in multiparty governments may vary over time. The enthusiasm and unity after a government formation process may turn into frustration and anger, when 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 success and stability of multiparty governments. In this paper, we analyse how the coalition mood, defined as the atmosphere between government parties, affects government stability. We use applause for coalition partners in plenary debates of the legislature as a time-varying measure of the coalition mood. Based on an automated analysis of over 175,000 plenary debates in Germany (1998-2015) and Austria (2003-2018), we show that 1) the initial level of support for the new coalition government varies significantly across cabinets and that 2) a declining coalition mood indicates higher risk of early government termination.