Cook's principles of coalition politics are really rules of thumb followed by boundedly rational actors, and can predict much coalition politics behavior. Agents prefer to create marginally winning coalitions with like-minded groups in the expectation of receiving rewards commensurate with investments. Four distinct types of coalitions--country, regime, agenda, and cabinet--are explored, along with a thorough examination of current coalition literature. Normally nested, the broader coalitions give rise to narrower ones, revealing diminishing bases of support and duration. Also, barring political catastrophe, change in coalitions at the program or cabinet level usually do not harm, and may actually strengthen, the regime or country coalitions from which they arise.
Students and scholars in comparative politics and political theory will benefit from Cook's ability to rise above the usual divisions and limitations of sub-fields. A distinctive and refreshing mix of theory and empirical material, ^INested Political Coalitions^R provides a sensible digest of diverse theoretical literatures, a good overview of coalition dynamics from one level to the next, and illustrates all this with breathtaking empirical coverage.
About the Author:
TERRENCE E. COOK is Professor of Political Science, Washington State University, Pullman.