The missing piece: Measuring portfolio salience in Western European parliamentary democracies

James N. Druckman*, Paul V. Warwick

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

89 Scopus citations


Although much has been discovered concerning the resources and preferences that parties take into the coalition formation game in Western European parliamentary democracies, we know a good deal less about the payoffs they receive. Portfolios constitute an important payoff, not just because they provide access to patronage, but because influence over policy decisions tends to go with control over the key government portfolios. It is easy to discover which and how many portfolios each party holds in any government, but what is missing is accurate measurement of the value or salience of these portfolios. Some attempts have been made to measure portfolio salience, but they have lacked one or more of the following properties: cross-national scope, country-specific measurement, coverage of the full set of postwar portfolios, measurement by multiple experts and measurement at the interval level. In this article, we present a new data contribution: a set of portfolio salience scores that possesses all of these properties for 14 Western European countries derived from an expert survey. We demonstrate the comprehensiveness and reliability of the ratings, and undertake some preliminary analyses that show what the ratings reveal about parliamentary government in Western Europe.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)17-42
Number of pages26
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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