• Open Access

The Politics of Patronage and Coalition: How Parties Allocate Managerial Positions in State-Owned Enterprises



While commonly regarded as a democratic pathology, party patronage can also be understood as an inherent feature of party government and thus as a linkage mechanism between political parties and the government executive. Therefore, theories of government formation, portfolio allocation and coalition governance can potentially add analytical leverage to the study of party patronage. Starting from this presumption, this article derives a number of hypotheses from the field of coalition theory and tests them on an original data set of over 2,000 appointments made to managerial boards in 92 Austrian state-owned enterprises between 1995 and 2010. The empirical analysis strongly supports the hypotheses, showing that patronage appointments vary with the partisan composition of government, the allocation of portfolios and junior ministers, as well as the importance of corporations.