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date: 21 February 2024

p. 1638. Parties in Governmentlocked

p. 1638. Parties in Governmentlocked

  • Petia Kostadinova
  •  and Robert Thomson


This chapter explores a cornerstone of democratic theory: the idea that parties mediate the effect of public opinion on government policies. It begins by discussing whether elections give parties a mandate to pursue their campaign promises, a supposition that many political theorists find problematic. The chapter then reviews theories that predict and explain post-election coalition formation, as the type of government formed affects parties’ success in shaping government policies. Finally, the chapter reviews three of the main approaches to studying the impact of parties on public policies: welfare state models, public spending, and the keeping of election campaign promises.

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