Coalition Dynamics: Advances in the Study of the Coalition Life Cycle

Wolfgang C. Müller, Hanna Bäck, Johan Hellström

Publications: Contribution to journalArticlePeer Reviewed


In parliamentary democracies, elections distribute the seats in parliament, but who gets into government and determines the policy agenda over the course of the legislative term is decided upon after the elections, in negotiations between the political parties. This introduction to the special issue discusses research concerning dynamic approaches to coalition governments. A dynamic approach implies that what happens at the electoral stage influences the government formation stage, which in turn shapes what happens during the government’s tenure, which may influence the cabinet’s durability. Hence, this type of research tries to analyse various stages of a government’s ‘life cycle’ from its ‘birth’ to its ‘death’ as interdependent processes, rather than examining them in mutual isolation. These processes may be restricted to the confines of a self-contained universe of politicians and political parties, or they may involve ‘external’ events, such as, for example, elections, or the state of the economy. In addition to having a dynamic approach to analysing coalitions, the contributions in the special issue use brand-new comparative data from several independent research projects investigating various aspects of coalition politics.

Translated title of the contributionDynamik in Koalitionen: Entwicklungen in der Erforschung des Lebenszyklus von Koalitionen
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-30
Number of pages30
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 20 Oct 2023

Austrian Fields of Science 2012

  • 506014 Comparative politics


  • Coalition
  • Coalition research
  • Dynamics
  • coalition life cycle
  • dynamics in coalition studies


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