The Timing of Cabinet Reshuffles in Five Westminster Parliamentary Systems

Authors

  • CHRISTOPHER KAM,

    1. University of British Columbia
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    • Christopher Kam is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of British Columbia, 1866 Main Mall, Buchanan C472, Vancouver, BC V6T 121, Canada. (This article was written while Kam was on faculty at the University of South Carolina.)

  • INDRIĐI INDRIĐASON

    1. University of Iceland
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    • IndriđOi IndriđOason is Assistant Professor of Political Science, University of Iceland, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland.


Abstract

Despite their political prominence, cabinet reshuffles have not attracted a great deal of scholarly attention. We provide a theory of cabinet reshuffles that emphasizes both systematic and time-varying causes. In particular, we argue that prime ministers employ cabinet reshuffles to retain power in the face of both intraparty and electoral challenges to their leadership. We use repeated-events duration models to examine the timing of cabinet reshuffles in Australia, Canada, Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom in the period 1960–2001, and find support for several of our hypotheses.

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