Endogenous Coalition Formation in Policy Debates

25 Mar 2019  ·  Leifeld Philip, Brandenberger Laurence ·

Political actors form coalitions around their joint policy beliefs in order to influence the policy process on contentious issues such as climate change or population aging. The present article explains the formation and maintenance of coalitions by focusing on the ways that actors adopt policy beliefs from other actors... A policy debate is a complex system that exhibits network dependencies both in cross-sectional and longitudinal ways when actors contribute ideological statements to the debate. In such a temporal network, learning of policy beliefs matters in three complementary ways: positive reciprocity through bonding relationships within coalitions, innovation across coalitions through bridging relationships, and negative reciprocity through repulsion, or polarization, of adversarial coalitions by reinforcement of conflictual relationships. We test this theory of endogenous coalition formation in policy debates using a novel inferential technique combining network and event history analysis and find systematic evidence for the interplay of the three coalition formation mechanisms. read more

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