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Cabinet Government


Instructor: Prof.dr R.B. Andeweg (


Bagehot’s famous lament that ‘the most curious point about the Cabinet is that so little is known about it’ no longer holds. Recent years have shown a considerable growth of the literature on this central institution in most political systems. The seminar will take a comparative perspective, with a focus on Western European governments. This seminar consists of two parts. In the first part we shall sample the literature to get an overview of the most important themes: the cabinet’s composition (coalition formation and ending, ministerial recruitment and dismissal), its internal dynamics (internal hierarchy (presidentialization?), ministerial roles, internal deliberation) and its external relations (executive-legislative relations, control over the bureaucracy). The literature will consist of both classic and recent articles or chapters. A programme and reading list will be provided well in advance. Students write a weekly essay formulating a research question for that week’s topic. Those essays form the input for the weekly seminar discussion, and their average grade is the grade for that part of the seminar. In the second part, students will select one of their research questions (or formulate yet another) and conduct a small research project, using secondary analysis or collecting their own data, depending on data availability. Students present their proposals and research findings, and are graded on their final paper.


To be announced.


Wednesday 5 February until 21 May, 9.00-11.00 hrs in 1A11