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“Partisan Distribution of Ministerial Portfolios in Asian-Pacific Democracies” by Jinhyuk Jang
July 21, 2021 @ 9:00 am – 10:00 am JST
Author: Jinhyuk Jang (Pennsylvania State University).
Abstract: How are ministerial portfolios distributed among coalition parties in Asian-Pacific democracies? Based on cases from Europe, and to a lesser extent Latin America and Africa, we know that party size affects the share of the cabinet any government parties will be offered. To date, little attention has been paid to the results of government formation bargaining processes in Asian-Pacific democracies. I use an original dataset of governments in 26 Asian-Pacific democracies from 1945 to 2019 to investigate how cabinet positions are distributed among coalition government parties. I focus on how the size of a government party and its formateur status (i.e., its role in constructing a government) influence its share of portfolios. Following existing literature, I argue that a larger share of ministerial portfolios will be assigned to government parties holding a larger share of legislative seats. I also argue that a variety of institutional contexts condition the bargaining over cabinet posts, and I use the substantial institutional variation across countries in my dataset to test implications of this argument. I find that the formateur party has a greater advantage over its coalition partners in presidential systems than in parliamentary ones. I also find that in presidential democracies, the formateur advantage tends to diminish as political constraints facing the formateur – measured by legislature power, party institutionalization, or the strength of veto players – increase.