Since late last year, I’ve been working for the University of Copenhagen on a project on political survival and political comebacks. Denmark is an interesting place to be for those of us interested in political careers: the current government has become known for its numerous changes in personnel.
So, it’s apt that Jonathan Bright, Holger Döring and I have a new article about ministerial survival in West European Politics. We set out to investigate whether more-important ministers (like finance ministers and foreign ministers) were more likely to survive in government than less-important ministers (like arts or culture ministers, for example) and, analysing data from seven countries since the 1940s, we found that that more-important ministers have greater chances of survival. We suggest that this difference may be accounted for by increased screening of more-important ministers when they are being selected; by how dismissing these ministers reflects especially poorly on party leaders; by the potentially negative effects of these dismissals on governmental stability; and by the reduced relative attractiveness of non-ministerial career options for these individuals. We also find that there are two broad routes to ministerial exits from cabinet (exit with their parties and exit without them) and that a number of other factors (age, prior government experience and the size of the minister’s party) help to account for variation in ministerial survival.
Edit: Jon also has a post on this article over at his website.