Causes and Consequences of Prime Ministerial Change

Research question/goal: 

Prime ministers act at the heart of politics in parliamentary democracies. However, it is yet unclear why some prime ministers stay in office for a decade and others for a couple of months only. Does it even make a difference when a new prime minister enters office? This project investigates when and why prime ministerial (PM) change takes place and what consequences PM change has on voters, parties, governments, and political representation in parliamentary democracies in general. Based on data from European democracies since 1945, the project develops theoretical arguments that explain the timing of PM replacements and the links between PM change, party policy change, and government policy change. Furthermore, the project employs survey experiments to learn how PM change affects what voters think about parties and governments.

Current stage: 

In late 2023, the DFG approved funding for the project. This will allow us to collect data on prime ministers, on the circumstances of their replacements, and their individual characteristics such as education and political careers. Later in the project, we will also collect survey data to study how citizens respond to replacements of prime ministers.

Fact sheet

2020 to 2024
in preparation
Data Sources: 
Comparative Data on Parties, Elections and Governments, Survey Data
Geographic Space: