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Florence So, black and white photo.

Florence So

Postdoctoral Fellow

Florence So, black and white photo.

Serious Conflicts with Benign Outcomes? The Electoral Consequences of Conflictual Cabinet Terminations


  • Florence So

Summary, in English

Conflictual cabinet terminations are seismic events in democracies, but their consequences are understudied. I argue that the electoral impacts of conflictual cabinet terminations depend on voters’ perceptions of them. Terminations following non-policy conflicts are electorally costly. They signal parties’ deteriorating governing competence, which reduces parties’ vote shares. In contrast, terminations following policy conflicts signal parties’ unwillingness to compromise their policy positions and clarify parties’ policy profiles, thus allowing them to evade voter punishment and junior coalition parties to reap electoral reward, particularly for those terminations preceded by interparty policy conflicts. Statistical analyses using the PAGED dataset support my argument on policy terminations and reveal more nuanced electoral effects of non-policy conflict terminations. These findings are robust to various alternative explanations, as well as multiple cabinet terminations and time passed from termination to election. The findings have large implications on electoral accountability of intra-cabinet conflicts and the quality of governance.


  • Department of Political Science

Publishing year





American Political Science Review

Document type

Journal article


Cambridge University Press


  • Political Science




  • ISSN: 1537-5943