British Journal of Political Science

Research Article

Parties Getting Impatient: Time Out of Office and Portfolio Allocation in Coalition Governments

Albert Falcó-Gimeno*


This article argues that long periods out of office make parties impatient and more willing to make concessions over portfolio allocation in exchange for participation in a coalition cabinet. Two hypotheses are analysed: on the one hand, being in opposition for a long time should put parties at a disadvantage when bargaining over office payoffs. On the other, this effect should not apply to the formateur party, since formation offers are based on the receivers’ impatience. The empirical results largely support these expectations. Additional evidence of the causality of the main effect is obtained through the use of matching techniques based on the propensity score.

(Online publication November 08 2011)


* Department of Political and Social Sciences, Universitat Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, and Center for Advanced Study in the Social Sciences, Juan March Institute, Madrid (email: The author thanks Javier Arregui, Ignacio Urquizu, José R. Montero, and the Journal's anonymous reviewers for helpful comments on previous versions of this article, as well as the Juan March Institute for language assistance.