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Cost-of-ruling in Local Elections – The Case of Sweden

Journal article
Authors David Karlsson
Mikael Gilljam
Published in Lex Localis
Volume 14
Issue 3
Pages 695-714
ISSN 1581-5374
Publication year 2016
Published at School of Public Administration
Department of Political Science
Pages 695-714
Language en
Keywords cost-of-ruling, local elections, parties, Sweden
Subject categories Public Administration Studies, Political Science


There is a cost-of-ruling effect for parties who are part of ruling coalitions I local multi-party elections. Results from the case of Sweden (based on 8,892 election results of parties in local elections 1998-2010) indicate that a party on average loses almost a quarter of its share of the votes after an election period in government. The results also indicate that this cost-of-ruling effect varies depending on the party’s prominence and its political company within the ruling coalition. The voters punish anti-establishment parties who enter into ruling coalitions especially hard.

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