Cooperation between counterparts in parliament from an agenda-setting perspective: legislative coalitions as a trade of criticism and policy

Flemming Juul Christiansen, Henrik Bech Seeberg

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Governments may bargain with parties in parliament to silence them. This insight follows from the agenda-setting literature, which emphasises the power of the opposition to criticise the government. The literature on legislatures points to the fear of loss of future voter support as a motivation for majority building. However, it does not name factors that can cause such uncertainty. One such factor is opposition criticism. This article argues that majority building does not only involve an exchange of policy support; governments use legislative coalitions to dampen unwanted opposition blame. By offering the opposition noteworthy policy influence in legislative coalitions, governments avoid opposition criticism in return, in addition to having initiatives passed. In order to test this argument, a large dataset is compiled on opposition criticism in parliament and the media before and after the 325 bargained legislative agreements settled in Denmark from 1973 to 2003. It is found that such agreements are more likely amidst opposition criticism and that they dampen opposition criticism
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Volume39
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)1160-1180
Number of pages21
ISSN0140-2382
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2016

Bibliographical note

Important note from the Publisher regarding the attached version of the article: “This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in West European Politics on 04 Apr 2016, available online: http://www.tandfonline.com/10.1080/01402382.2016.1157744”

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