The Three As of Government Formation: Appointment, Allocation, and Assignment

Authors


  • We thank Michael Bechtel, Gary Cox, Keith Dowding, Patrick Dunleavy, Pohan Fong, Michael Laver, Iain McLean, David Myatt, Thomas Pluemper, Kenneth Shepsle, Francesco Squintani, Anne White, seminar participants at LSE, Trinity, and the MPSA, and anonymous referees at the AJPS, for helpful comments, discussions, and suggestions.

Torun Dewan is Professor of Political Science, Department of Government, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2 2AE (t.dewan@lse.ac.uk). Rafael Hortala-Vallve is a Lecturer in Political Science and Public Policy, Department of Government, London School of Economics, Houghton Street, London WC2 2AE (r.hortala-vallve@lse.ac.uk).

Abstract

How does the Prime Minister organize her government so that she can implement her policy agenda? In our model, a Prime Minister appoints individuals to her cabinet, allocates their portfolios, and assigns their policy tasks—that is, she decides the relevant jurisdiction of departments and the type of proposals a minister can make. Upon appointment, ministers obtain expertise on policies specific to their jurisdiction and strategically communicate this information to the Prime Minister before a policy is implemented. Assignment allows the Prime Minister to implement her agenda even when she is constrained to appoint ministers whose policy preferences are far from her own. A Prime Minister weakly prefers a diverse cabinet. In equilibrium, the Prime Minister is indifferent between delegating policy or implementing policy herself.

Ancillary