Strange bedfellows: Cooperative policy making in a divided government

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It is widely believed that the lack of bipartisanship between the executive and legislative branches in the United States is deleterious to policy making. However, a divided government is perhaps more productive than a unified government because it can facilitate electoral gains for the minority party. Policy created by a divided government can be seen as the collaborative outcome of the majority and minority parties, but that of a unified government is perceived as the exclusive work of the majority party. Further, successful policy making on the part of the unified government could have the effect of compromising the minority party’s brand. Thus, the minority party has more incentive to negotiate with the majority party and participate in policy making in a divided government. To the extent that party brand name assumes greater importance in elections in a polarized political system, a divided government could be more conducive to policy making than a unified government.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)25-46
Number of pages22
JournalKorean Journal of Policy Studies
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the GSPA, Seoul National University.


  • Divided government
  • Party conflict
  • Polarization
  • Policymaking productivity
  • Political cooperation


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