Stiftelsen för forskning inom områden med anknytning till Östersjöregionen och Östeuropa

Governments in Europe – Bringing in the Baltic and East Central European Democracies

Ämne: Statsvetenskap
Projektledare: Torbjörn Bergman
Startår: 2011
Projekttyp: Projekt

This project connects ten senior scholars in the Baltic and East Central Europe countries with Södertörn University for the purpose of conducting cutting edge comparative research on the formation and stability of national governments. In particular, the project examines two aspects of government formation and termination that in the region have not yet been the subject of scholarly inquiry. One of these is coalition governance. Knowledge about this aspect of national politics in the region is today very scarce, both in the international literature and (according to our country experts) in the national languages of the countries. We are particularly interested in developing an understanding of the conflict resolution mechanisms that government parties try to use to enforce and maintain their coalitions.

Second, while there is a body literature about how long governments typically stay in power, very little
is known about the specific reasons as to why they terminate. Research about these topics requires both systematic data-collection and qualitative case studies that are context sensitive and written by scholars with a high degree of insight into the politics of each country.

Bringing in the experts from each of the countries to be studied will enable to project to (a) develop
historic-ideographic knowledge about the trajectories of the individual countries and (b) collect and
interpret national-level data on the countries that match the data available for Western Europe. It is
important to note, however, that the utility of this project is not limited to a comparison of East and West or to a comparison of results from across Europe. Perhaps even more important is that it allows us to conduct analyses of variation among the 10 countries in the region. We expect to find “sub-regional” tendencies (for example, minority governments as viable options in some countries but not others).

The project will make it possible for us to determine the degree to which such variations are rooted in
systemic path-dependencies (historic legacies and transition scenarios), and/or national institutional
choices. Because the project asks both new and long-standing questions about government formation and stability in a region where such questions have been under-studied, it will also inform the entire research tradition that is based on theories of coalition formation. The project will establish Södertörn as a central node for research on national governments