Government formation as logrolling in high-dimensional issue spaces

Published

Journal Article

© 2020 by the Southern Political Science Association. All rights reserved. Analytical models of government formation typically assume low-dimensional real policy spaces. Behaviorally, however, politicians negotiate to form governments in high-dimensional discrete issue spaces. We model these negotiations, leveraging the fact that different politicians typically attach different importance to the same issue, allowing gains from trade when they negotiate agreed positions on large packages of issues. The set of issues in an agreed package is endogenous; politicians need not agree on every issue before they go into government together, “tabling” issues on which they agree to disagree. We exercise our model computationally, calibrating it to 91 real-world government formation settings, and mapping out the relative probability of Condorcet winning cabinets in different settings. This probability measures how hard it is for negotiators to find Condorcet winning cabinets in a giant high-dimensional state space. We test this claim empirically with a statistical model of the duration of negotiations after an election.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • de Marchi, S; Laver, M

Published Date

  • April 1, 2020

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 82 / 2

Start / End Page

  • 543 - 558

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1468-2508

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0022-3816

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1086/706462

Citation Source

  • Scopus