The Annuals of Japanese Political Science Association
Online ISSN : 1884-3921
Print ISSN : 0549-4192
ISSN-L : 0549-4192
Difficult paths to government formation in European parliamentary democracies:
A Qualitative Comparative Analysis
Sho Niikawa
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2021 Volume 72 Issue 1 Pages 1_105-1_131


This article investigates coalition bargaining process in European parliamentary democracies. The government formation process is not irrelevant with a substantial decision making for legislative parties, in which different strategies are theoretically expected on the basis of their motivations. Although a theory of coalition formations has been developed in European studies, the initial studies have paid little attention to the process. Bargaining delays might be considered as a ‘crisis’ of parliamentary democracies, but there is a variety of bargaining styles in Europe. Several empirical studies tried to explain the duration from veto controlling against bargaining uncertainty and complexity, but there are conflicting results without post-election effect. To fill the gaps, I attempt to give an explanation by using Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA), which aims to grasp causal complexity from a set theoretical notion. Following this approach, bargaining uncertainty and complexity can be reframed from a perspective of necessity and sufficiency, and the conditions are assessed through equifinality and multifinality. As a result, this article shows that post-election and no majority in parliament would be a conjunctural necessary condition of bargaining uncertainty, whereas partisan veto controlling against bargaining complexity could be problematized under different institutional settings, especially no presidential power and federal-bicameral structure.

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