How fractionalisation and polarisation explain the level of government turn-over

  • Simon OtjesEmail author
Original Article


This article seeks to explain to what extent government composition changes in cabinet formations: it examines why some party systems tend to see wholesale turn-over (where all government parties were previously in opposition) and others only see partial turn-over (where some of the government parties were previously in government). This distinction has been described by many prominent political scientists. Yet there is limited research into the underlying causes. This article examines the importance of both party system characteristics and conditions specific to the cabinet formation: it finds that specifically the interaction between number of parties in a party system and their distribution over the political space matters for the level of party turn-over in government.


Party systems Wholesale turn-over Partial turn-over Left–right politics Polarisation 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd., part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Groningen UniversityGroningenThe Netherlands

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