2.Are office seeking and policy seeking theories of coalition formation at odds with each other?
Coalition theory is one of the least studied but highly interesting areas of political science. Coalitions are very common in European politics, much more so than single-party majorities and therefore coalition bargaining is a very important topic to be discussed, even if it is just intra-party bargaining. Coalitions are often seen as unstable in government and it is true that they often do not last as long as single-majority government, but it is also true that some of the most successful governments since the war have been coalitions ie. in Germany, Switzerland and Luxemburg. I will discuss whether office seeking and policy seeking theories of coalition formation are at odds with each other throughout this essay. Theories of coalitions are based on the motivations of the relevant actors in the coalition process, these theories range from the "intrinsic" rewards going to these politicians who got into office, such as power and prestige, to politicians who's motivation is seen as a desire to affect policy.
There are two main traditions in coalition studies, the European politics tradition and the Game theoretic tradition, which help us to understand politician's motivations. To answer the question of whether office seeking and policy seeking theories of coalition formation are at odds, we must examine the details of coalition bargaining and discover the true motivations of politicians.
The European politics tradition is research done at cross-national level, which means that this tradition uses actual coalition examples. It is a bit limited due to research being post war only, however it has produced a large body of work. Game theoretic tradition is an American method that uses game theory to understand coalitions, it sees government as a "fixed prize" so parties...