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The politics of coalition—the very heart of the political process in most European countries—can be analyzed either theoretically or empirically. Multiparty Government reconciles these approaches. It gives students of European politics access to the insights of contemporary theory while applying it to an analysis of real-world coalition politics.
Michael Laver and Norman Schofield examine five basic themes: the identity and motivation of the actors in the coalition game; the eventual membership of the coalitions they form; their durability; the payoffs that are shared out by coalition members; and the impact of constitutional bargaining, behavioral, and historical constraints on the process of coalition bargaining. They illustrate their discussion of theory with a range of detailed case studies.
Multiparty Government offers an accessible approach that bridges the gap between the "European politics" and "game theory" traditions of political science, and puts the systematic study of the politics of coalition on the broader political science map.