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Modelling Secessions from Municipalities

PublicationArticle (with peer review)
Företagandets villkor, Gissur Ó. Erlingsson, Ideologi, Makt, Spelteori, Strategi

Abstract

Under what conditions are quests for secession successful? Current debates in Scandinavia on the appropriate size of municipalities are taken as a point of departure for answering this question. I set out to analyse what processes are triggered through mergers of small political units into larger ones. The Swedish experience is analysed as an empirical illustration. A game-theoretical model is constructed, in which I highlight questions of ideology, power and strategy when analysing secessions. I conclude that mergers, such as those in Sweden between 1952 and 1974, create a built-in conflict in the larger unit. Certain geographical parts of the political unit get the worst of it in a conflict concerning resources, which will create tension based on geographical location. If these conflicts are not solved, questions of secession will inevitably be raised. In the Swedish context the law is phrased in such a way that the government decides whether or not secession will be allowed. The game-theoretical model therefore suggests that campaigns for secession will be successful if the seceding part (SP) (a) meets the required physical criteria (which concern size and financial predisposition), (b) the quest for secession enjoys strong public support and (c) the party in government takes a benevolent view of municipality separations.

Erlingsson, G. Ó. (2005). ”Modelling Secessions from Municipalities”. Scandinavian Political Studies, 28(2): 141-159.

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Article (with peer review)Publication
Erlingsson, G.Ó.
Publication year

2009

Abstract

The purpose of this research note is to demonstrate the usefulness of rational choice models in making party‐system stability intelligible. First, the ‘problem of collective action among potential party‐entrepreneurs’ makes it puzzling that new political parties emerge at all. Secondly, if the original collective‐action problem is overcome somehow, the ‘problem of voter coordination’ makes it hard for new parties to attract voters. Finally, established competitors have incentives and resources to hold newcomers back. I conclude by maintaining that simple, well‐known rational choice models explain the empirical observation by Lipset and Rokkan (1967) that party systems tend to be ‘frozen’. Instead, the genuinely puzzling thing is why new political parties emerge and gain support at all.

The Spatial Diffusion of Party Entrepreneurs in Swedish Local Politics
Article (with peer review)Publication
Erlingsson, G.Ó.
Publication year

2008

Published in
Abstract

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Article (with peer review)Publication
Erlingsson, G.Ó.
Publication year

2006

Abstract

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