Coalition mood in European parliamentary democracies

Michael Imre, Ecker Alejandro, Thomas M. Meyer, Wolfgang C. Müller

The success and longevity of coalition governments depends on the ability to keep conflicts between coalition members at bay. The risk of such conflicts is often assessed by drawing on proxy measures such as the ideological heterogeneity among government parties. This manuscript presents a new approach to measure the atmosphere between government parties. The ‘coalition mood’ is a time-varying measure that draws on applause patterns between coalition partners during legislative debates. The manuscript exemplifies the measurement approach based on automated analyses of over 105,000 plenary debates in Germany and Austria. The manuscript then assesses the measure’s face-, concurrent-, and predictive validity. It finds the measure well-aligned with qualitative evidence and shows that the mood is correlated with poll ratings of the government parties and helps to predict the duration of legislative processes. The conclusion highlights future applications of the coalition mood for research on coalition politics and public policy.

Department of Government
External organisation(s)
Ruprecht-Karls-Universität Heidelberg, Universität Mannheim, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
British Journal of Political Science
Publication date
Peer reviewed
Austrian Fields of Science 2012
506014 Comparative politics
ASJC Scopus subject areas
Political Science and International Relations
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