The existence of political uncertainty has been identified in the literature as one of the main determinants of cabinet bargaining delays. Still, practically all studies on the topic expect uncertainty to play a relevant role only during the immediate post-election period, ignoring the variety of different government experiences, especially in countries characterized by a high cabinet turnover in the between-elections period, such as Italy. To overcome this shortcoming, we estimate the “magnitude of change” in the bargaining environment as a determinant of bargaining delays, taking into account partisan, ideological and institutional variations that can happen across two subsequent formation processes. Our results help to better explain the variance in the Italian government bargaining experience throughout almost 70 years of history. Moreover, once we control for the effect of such changing circumstances, the relevance of the timing of negotiations disappears.
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