Economic Performance, Political Institutions and Cabinet Durability in 28 European Parliamentary Democracies, 1945–2011
After reviewing the literature on cabinet terminations and demonstrating the progress from early explanations based on the structural attributes of cabinets and their political environment to increasingly sophisticated ‘unified’ models of strategic responses to exogenous shocks, this chapter will (a) discuss ways of using existing datasets to operationalize one of these unified models, Lupia and Strøm’s influential model of strategic cabinet termination (focusing on the conditions of political institutions to influence the costs of governing under the impact of exogenous shocks such as economic crises); and (b) test a version of it empirically by using a competing-risk design and a new set of political and economic data covering 28 European democracies over a period of more than 60 years. It is found that strong increases in unemployment were particularly destructive for European cabinets, whereas the impact of inflation seems to be mitigated by political and strategic factors. Duration-dependent effects—unemployment increasing the risk of early elections towards the end of a parliamentary term and increasing the risk of non-electoral cabinet replacements at its beginning—are small but significant, corroborating some of the observable implications of the Lupia–Strøm model.
KeywordsGovernment stability Cabinet durability Economic crises Cabinet reshuffles Election timing Event-history analysis
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