Public Choice

, Volume 125, Issue 3–4, pp 247–269 | Cite as

Policy making in divided government: A pivotal actors model with party discipline

  • Josep M. Colomer


This article presents a formal model of policy decision-making in an institutional framework of separation of powers in which the main actors are pivotal political parties with voting discipline. The basic model previously developed from pivotal politics theory for the analysis of the United States lawmaking is here modified to account for policy outcomes and institutional performances in other presidential regimes, especially in Latin America. Legislators' party indiscipline at voting and multi-partism appear as favorable conditions to reduce the size of the equilibrium set containing collectively inefficient outcomes, while a two-party system with strong party discipline is most prone to produce ‘gridlock', that is, stability of socially inefficient policies. The article provides a framework for analysis which can induce significant revisions of empirical data, especially regarding the effects of situations of (newly defined) unified and divided government, different decision rules, the number of parties and their discipline. These implications should be testable and may inspire future analytical and empirical work.


Decision Rule Political Party Actor Model Main Actor Institutional Framework 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept. EconomicsCSIC/University Pompeu FabraBarcelonaSpain

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