Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Portfolio allocation

La Repubblica.it has an interesting article about a fight between the Rosa nel Pugno and the Udeur in the battle for places in the future Prodi government. According to the traditional 'voci non confermate', Emma Bonino of the Rosa had been a shoe-in for the post of EU Affairs, and Clemente Mastella of the Udeur for the post of Defence Minister. As a former commissioner that would have suited Bonino. But now Bonino wants Defense. Why?

Most academic theories of coalition formation concentrate on the totality of coalition places, not individual ministries. They're not policy-sensitive, in other words. The one exception is Laver and Shepsle, who note that a government could refuse a particular ministry or set of ministries, even if it brought it more seats

“a social democratic party may prefer a minority Centre party administration to a coalition between the social democrats and a party of the far right, if the very disparate coalition were forecast to generate a lot of grief for the Social Democrats in policy terms”

But this doesn't make sense here. Radicals like EU affairs - it allows them to circumvent illiberal Italian politics. So perhaps, like most academic theories of coalition formation, Italian parties aren't policy sensitive, but rather weight more 'prestigious' ministries more. That tends to make portfolio allocation a more difficult job, since people's evaluations of prestige are more widely shared than their interests in particular policy areas.

1 comment:

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