Lanny Martin and Georg Vanberg (Bocconi University)
16 February 2023 @ 14:15 - 15:45
- Past event
Voter Ideological Awareness and Coalition Formation in Parliamentary Democracies
Abstract.In most parliamentary democracies, policies result from compromise among multiple government parties. Voters thus have a keen interest in understanding whether their parties will join a coalition government, and if so, the extent of compromise this implies. Most explanations of government formation take as given the idea that when parties bargain, they consider how supporters might perceive their actions. As we argue, however, the ability of voters to evaluate bargaining outcomes — and hold leaders accountable — depends critically on their level of ideological awareness. Using an original measure, we show that not all parties have equally aware supporters. We also demonstrate that differences in voter awareness have consequences. Parties with more ideologically aware supporters are generally less likely to enter coalitions than parties with less ideologically aware supporters, an effect that is magnified when the former parties are also “unattractive’’ coalition partners. Moreover, when parties with more ideologically aware supporters do enter coalitions, they are much more discriminating in their choice of partners.