The formation of multi-party governments is one of the prime examples of coalition formation, and hence it is studied extensively by political scientists. The political science literature on coalition formation is heavily indebted to micro-economic theories in this field.However, social psychologists too have been interested in the subject of coalition formation for over 50 years (see for reviewsofthisliterature:Gamson1964;KahanandRapoport1984b;Komorita andParks1995;Murnighan1978;Wilke1985).Curiously,with a fewexceptions (such asGamson 1961a) this literature is hardly known among political scientistsworkingoncoalitions,justassocialpsychologistsinthisfieldtendto be unaware of the political science literature on coalitions (again,with a few exceptions,suchasShapleyandShubik1954). This chapter seeks to provide an introduction to the social psychological approach to coalition formation.Having introduced the dominantmethod and theories as a background, I shall discuss the key structural variables that have been used to test the underlying assumptions of these social psychological theories.Specifically, Iwill showhowsocial psychologistshave addressed (a) the relationbetweenresources(e.g.aparty’svotesinapoliticalconventionsparadigm) and power (e.g. the number of potential winning coalitions inwhich a partyisneeded),(b)theimpactoftheunitsinwhichthepayoffsaremadeavailable (e.g. numberof seats available in government), (c) the impact of payoffs earnedorlostofthosewhoarenotmembersofawinningcoalition,and(d)the differencebetweenthetypicalsettingthatisusedinsocialpsychology(i.e.interindividualcoalitionbargaining)andthemorerelevantsettingofpoliticalscientists(i.e.intergroupcoalitionbargaining).
|Title of host publication||Puzzles of government formation|
|Subtitle of host publication||Coalition theory and deviant cases|
|Editors||R.W. Andeweg, L. De Winter, P. Dumont|
|Publisher||Taylor and Francis|
|Publication status||Published - 2011|