Survival of the Ministers: On Ministerial Durability in Postwar Norway

Martin G. Søyland

The field of ministerial durability, showing why some ministers are dismissed and others not, has increased in size over the last decade. Specifically, linking ministerial performance through resignation calls with durability has been applied to both majoritarian and semi-presidential systems, whereas this link is less explored in consensual electoral systems. Thus, this study explores the relationship between ministerial performance and durability in postwar Norway, drawing on the principal-agent theory for parliamentary democracies and the accountability link between party leaders and ministers.

The main finding is that there are many similarities to other studies’ ministerial durability and performance. By measuring performance in resignation calls coming through the media, it is found that ministerial durability is decreased when performance is low: the more resignation calls a minister gets, the more likely the minister is to be removed by the party leader. Consequently, it is argued that ministers generally are held accountable by their party leaders whenever they are perceived to perform badly. Even though it is argued in the article that studies on ministerial durability and performance would benefit from alternative performance measures, the analysis shows that resignation calls give a good indication of how party leaders hold ministers accountable.

Scandinavian Political Studies, vol. 40 (2), 2017. Find the article here.

Published Sep. 25, 2017 2:25 PM - Last modified Sep. 25, 2017 2:25 PM