Understanding the formation of governments has always been central to political science. Traditionally this topic has been considered from a rational choice theory perspective and the empirical testing of these theories; however neither approach alone is able to explain a large proportion of actual coalition formations.

This comparative volume brings together a rational choice theory perspective and the empirical testing of these theories to study government formation. It provides in-depth studies of government formations in Europe that cannot be accounted for by existing coalition theory in order to identify potential explanatory factors that have been neglected so far. These ‘coalition puzzles’ are reconstructed by country experts based on secondary sources, newspaper accounts, internal party documents, and interviews in an effort to understand why particular governments were formed. In conclusion, this book assesses whether new factors can be integrated into rational choice theories or whether these analyses point to the need for a different paradigm.

This important volume will be of interest to students and scholars of political science, European politics and comparative politics.

chapter |23 pages

From coalition theory to coalition puzzles

ByPatrick Dumont, Lieven De Winter, Rudy B. Andeweg

chapter |20 pages

A neglected alternative?

Psychological approaches to coalition formation
ByIlja van Beest

chapter |21 pages

When median-legislator theory fails

The Swedish Greens in 1998 and 2002
ByNicholas Aylott, Torbjörn Bergman

chapter |23 pages

Coalition bargaining in an unforgiving environment

The case of Bondevik II in Norway
ByHanne Marthe Narud, Kaare Strøm

chapter |24 pages

Successful failure

Ill-conceived pre-commitments and welcome bargaining failure paving the way to minority government in Austria
ByWolfgang C. Müller

chapter |17 pages

“Spain is different”

Explaining minority governments by diverging party goals *
ByJosep M Reniu

chapter |18 pages

The Rainbow coalition

A surplus majority coalition in Finland
ByAnn-Cathrine Jungar

chapter |18 pages

Purple puzzles

The 1994 and 1998 government formations in the Netherlands and coalition theory
ByRudy B. Andeweg

chapter |25 pages

The Belgian ‘Rainbow coalition' puzzle

Optical illusion or mechanical phenomenon?
ByPatrick Dumont

chapter |14 pages

From puzzles to prospects for coalition theory

ByRudy B. Andeweg