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Coalition formation theories revisited: an empirical investigation of Aumann's hypothesis

Chua, Vincent C. H. and Felsenthal, Dan S. (2006) Coalition formation theories revisited: an empirical investigation of Aumann's hypothesis. In: Braham, Matthew and Steffen, Frank, (eds.) Power Freedom and Voting : Conceptual, Formal, and Applied Dimensions. Springer Berlin / Heidelberg, Germany, pp. 159-183. ISBN 9783540733812 (Submitted)

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Robert J Aumann, the 2005 Nobel laureate in Economics, hypothesized in 1995 that, in forming a majority coalition government in real life, the party charged with forming the coalition will choose to form the coalition that maximizes its Shapley-Shubik index. We subjected this hypothesis to empirical testing in nine countries. It was found that for the data sets investigated, this hypothesis produces the smallest number of correct predictions. Three variations of this hypothesis appear to perform somewhat better: restricting the maximization process to the set of closed majority coalitions, or likewise but with a further requirement that the coalition selected be of minimal size or of minimal range. However, none of these variations achieves a level of predictive performance comparable to the Leiserson-Axelrod closed minimal range theory or to the Gamson-Riker minimum size principle. We therefore conclude that Aumann’s hypothesis should be rejected, and that considerations of maximizing a priori voting power do not seem to account for the actual behavior of political parties in forming governmental coalitions.

Item Type: Book Section
Additional Information: Copyright © Vincent C. H. Chua & Dan S. Felsenthal. LSE has developed LSE Research Online so that users may access research output of the School. Copyright and Moral Rights for the papers on this site are retained by the individual authors and/or other copyright owners. Users may download and/or print one copy of any article(s) in LSE Research Online to facilitate their private study or for non-commercial research. You may not engage in further distribution of the material or use it for any profit-making activities or any commercial gain. You may freely distribute the URL (<>) of the LSE Research Online website.
Divisions: LSE
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 15 May 2006
Last Modified: 15 Sep 2023 09:19

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