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Our Policy

Increased levels of economic openness in the industrial democracies have heightened the potential for intra-party and intra-coalition policy conflicts, hurting the ability of parties to win and retain office. We  argue that politicians can use monetary commitments to help manage these conflicts and improve cabinet durability. To determine the political value of these commitments, we test the effect of fixed exchange rates and central bank independence on cabinet durability using a set of 193 cabinets in 16 parliamentary democracies across the period 1972-1998.

The results indicate that monetary commitments are associated with higher cabinet durability, particularly for coalition governments. We then use the results of our statistical models to generate expected cabinet durability under alternative institutional configurations. By comparing
these expected values, we show that actual monetary reforms in the industrial democracies have helped (or at least not hurt) the ability of political parties to remain in office.

Political Behavior publishes original research in the general fields of political behavior, broadly construed to include institutions, processes, and policies as well as individual-level political behavior. As an interdisciplinary journal, Political Behavior encourages the integration of approaches across disciplinary lines and across different levels of theoretical abstraction and analysis. Political Behavior incorporates economic approaches to understanding political behavior (preference structuring, bargaining), psychological approaches (attitude formation and change, motivations, perceptions), and sociological approaches (roles, group, class), as well as those more explicitly political in orientation. Articles focus on the political behavior (conventional or unconventional) of the individual person or small group, or of large organizations that participate in the political process, such as parties, interest groups, political action committees, governmental agencies, and mass media.

The commitment of respondents to their answers to the National Election Studies party identification question is examined in a nationwide experiment using the traditional wording and two variant wordings. About two-thirds of the sample were found to be committed to their responses. Leaners and pure independents were particularly uncommitted. Committed independents were much closer to the classical image than those identified as independents by the traditional measure. Leaners are not entirely consistent either with the view that they are disguised partisans or with the view that they are mostly independent with a tendency to lean toward a party. Of particular theoretical importance were the one-fifth of the sample who, when given the chance, indicated that they did not think of themselves in either partisan or independent terms. We suggest that the standard question on party identification should be supplemented with periodic monitoring of the extent of nonconforming answers.

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