Cost-of-ruling in Local Elections – The Case of Sweden

  • David Karlsson University of Gothenburg, School of Public Administration, Sprängkullsgatan 19, 40530 Göteborg
  • Mikael Gilljam University of Gothenburg, Department of Political Science, Sprängkullsgatan 19, 40530 Göteborg
Keywords: cost-of-ruling, local elections, parties, Sweden


There is a cost-of-ruling effect for parties who are part of ruling coalitions I local multi-party elections. Results from the case of Sweden (based on 8,892 election results of parties in local elections 1998-2010) indicate that a party on average loses almost a quarter of its share of the votes after an election period in government. The results also indicate that this cost-of-ruling effect varies depending on the party’s prominence and its political company within the ruling coalition. The voters punish anti-establishment parties who enter into ruling coalitions especially hard.

Author Biographies

David Karlsson, University of Gothenburg, School of Public Administration, Sprängkullsgatan 19, 40530 Göteborg
Associate Professor
Mikael Gilljam, University of Gothenburg, Department of Political Science, Sprängkullsgatan 19, 40530 Göteborg


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