Parties in government and in coalitions

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionary


Political parties frequently encounter public derision for their perceived ineffectiveness at governing. Yet, parties continue to organise and control government bodies in representative democracies. Moreover, political theorists have not outlined convincing alternatives to representative government that supplant parties' influence. Indeed, all-too-common beliefs that parties fail to fulfil their policy promises may not hold up to detailed scrutiny. For instance, recent criticisms have drawn attention to intra-party disunity as a constraint on their effectiveness while overlooking the extent to which their own decision-making processes can influence their policy positions. In this chapter, we evaluate parties’ roles in government through consideration of current research on government and coalition behaviour. We propose that parties have substantial impact on policy-making, but also that the challenges of reaching collective action and institutional limits on governance constrain their influence.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Routledge Handbook of Political Parties
EditorsNeil Carter, Daniel Keith, Gyda Sindre, Sofia Vasilopoulou
Place of PublicationAbingdon, Oxon
Number of pages23
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 1 Sept 2022

Publication series

NameRoutledge International Handbooks


  • coalition government
  • political parties


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