Challenging government: institutional arrangements, policy shocks, and no-confidence motions

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Title: Challenging government: institutional arrangements, policy shocks, and no-confidence motions
Author: Williams, Laron Kenneth
Abstract: Our understanding of parliamentary politics suggests that no -confidence motions have a critical place in government continuation , reorganization and termination . More specifically , we know that opposition parties use no -confidence motions as a way of removing the government and potentially inducing early elections . Up until now , we know little about either the causes or the consequences of no -confidence motions . In this dissertation , I first develop a formal model of the conditions under which an opposition party will threaten to propose (and eventually propose ) a no -confidence motion in the government . The model provides a number of intuitive observations about the behavior of opposition parties and the reactions of governments to challenges . I develop a competence -based theory where opposition parties signal their perception of the government's competence with no -confidence motions . In the game , opposition parties act both in terms of short -term gains as well as long -term electoral gains . This model provides intuitive answers that help us understand the circumstances under which the opposition will challenge the government . The model also provides empirical expectations regarding the probability that the motion is successful , in addition to its long -term electoral consequences . Next , I test the theoretical propositions regarding the occurrence of noconfidence motions on a cross -sectional time -series data set of all no -confidence motions in a sample of parliamentary democracies in the post -World War II era . Even though successful no -confidence motions are relatively rare , they can have profound consequences on policy outcomes . The next section illustrates these consequences , as I find that having a no -confidence motion proposed against them makes governments more likely to be targeted by other states in international conflicts . In the conclusion I summarize the key findings , present the broad implications for the study of parliamentary decision making , and discuss avenues for future research .
URI: http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2366
Date: 2009-05-15


Challenging government: institutional arrangements, policy shocks, and no-confidence motions. Available electronically from http : / /hdl .handle .net /1969 .1 /ETD -TAMU -2366 .

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