Pivotal Politics and Public Policy in Cabinet Governments

06.05.2013 - 12:00
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Alexander Herzog
Lecturer affiliation: 
London School of Economics

The assignment of cabinet portfolios to parties has a profound effect on the policies adopted by cabinet governments. However, the relationship between portfolio allocation and public policy outcomes has not been adequately addressed in the literature. In this paper, I present a formal model of intra-cabinet decision-making that incorporates the strategic interaction between cabinet members. The model shows under which conditions either the prime minister or the minister of finance is the pivotal member in the cabinet. Based on these results, I derive the necessary and sufficient conditions under which a cabinet is either a Gridlock cabinet, a Prime ministerial cabinet, or a Ministerial cabinet. Each of these cabinets refers to a different ideal type that has been discussed in the literature. Using data on social spending from 11 Western European parliamentary systems over a time period of 45 years, I show that the main implications of the model are supported by the data.