“The politics of government reorganization in Western Europe”, Julia Fleischer et al. (Sciences Po CEE, France)

The reorganization of governments is crucial for parties to express their policy preferences once they reach office. Yet these activities are not confined to the direct aftermath of general elections or to wide-ranging structural reforms. Instead, governments reorganize and adjust their machinery of government all the time. This paper aims to assess these structural choices with a particular focus at the core of the state, comparing four Western European democracies (Germany, France, the Netherlands, and United Kingdom) from 1980 to 2013. Our empirical analysis shows that stronger shifts in cabinets’ ideological profiles in the short- and long-term as well as the units’ proximity to political executives yield significant effects. In contrast, Conservative governments, commonly regarded as key promoters of reorganizing governments, are not significant for the likelihood of structural change. We discuss the effects of this politics of government reorganization for different research debates assessing the inner workings of governments.

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