Public Choice

, Volume 167, Issue 1–2, pp 67–94 | Cite as

Competition in fragmentation among political coalitions: theory and evidence



This article proposes a game-theoretic setting to explain the fragmentation of majority and opposition coalitions in governments. The model is two-stage: (1) the leaders of each coalition control the size of the parties in their group so as to maximize the political power of their coalition, and (2) the political party leaders in each coalition decide their degree of participation in their coalition’s collective action. The main conclusion is that the concentration in the two opposing coalitions will be related when the competition between them is fierce. This is shown to hold for the Left-wing and Right-wing coalitions in French local governments, revealing competition in fragmentation in these coalitions.


Political fragmentation Political coalitions Political competition 

JEL Classification

C35 D70 H40 H72 



The authors would like to thank Andrew Clark, Marius Brülhart and four anonymous referees for their valuable comments. Part of the paper was written while the second author was visiting the Crawford School of Public Policy at the Australian National University, Canberra. Rocaboy is grateful to Professor Robert Breunig, director of Crawford, for his kind hospitality and support. Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the AFSE Conference (Lyon, France, 2014), the Second World Congress of the Public Choice Societies (Miami, USA, 2012), and the PEARL Conference (University of Eastern Piemont, Italy, 2010).


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Condorcet Center for Political EconomyUniversity of Rennes 1, CREM-CNRSRennes CedexFrance

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