Ex Ante and ex Post Voting Power: A Method for Calculating Party Power in Party Government


As political power tends to be wielded in the form of voting power in the national assembly, especially under the institutions of party government, one needs a method to calculate the voting power of political parties, both longitudinally and for a cross-section of European democracies. This paper suggests such a method, derived from the power index approach in cooperative game theory. The application of the method on the history of democracy in the two German nations results in party scoresmandates, ex ante and ex post voting powerthat are much in congruence with the standard interpretations of the interwar period and the post-war politics in these two countries.

Share and Cite:

Lane, J. & Preker, A. (2013). Ex Ante and ex Post Voting Power: A Method for Calculating Party Power in Party Government. Sociology Mind, 3, 149-155. doi: 10.4236/sm.2013.32022.

Conflicts of Interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


[1] Banzhaf III, J. F. (1965). Weighted voting doesn’t work: A mathematical analysis. Rutgers Law Review, 19, 317-343.
[2] Coleman, J. S. (1971). Control of collectivities and the power of a collectivity to act. In B. Lieberman (Ed.), Social choice (pp. 269-300). Amsterdam: Gordon and Breach.
[3] Felsenthal, D. S., & Machover, M. (1998). The measurement of voting power. Theory and practice, problems and paradoxes. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.
[4] Felsenthal, D. S., & Machover, M. (2002). Annexations and alliances: When are blocs advantageous a priori? Social Choice and Welfare, 19, 295-312. doi:10.1007/s003550100115
[5] Felsenthal, D. S., & Machover, M. (2004). A priori voting power: What is it all about? Political Studies Review, 2, 1-23. doi:10.1111/j.1478-9299.2004.00001.x
[6] Felsenthal, D. S. and Machover, M. (2005). Voting power measurement: A story of misreinvention. Social Choice and Welfare, 25, 485-506. doi:10.1007/s00355-005-0015-9
[7] Keman, H. (1994). The search for the centre: Pivot parties in West European party systems. West European Politics, 17, 124-148. doi:10.1080/01402389408425046
[8] Kircheimer, O. (1965). The change of the Western German party system. Politische Vierteljahresschrift, 6, 12-40.
[9] Korte, K.-R., & Frohlich, M. (2004). Politics and governance in Germany. Structures, processes, decisions. Paderborn: Ferdinand Schoningh.
[10] Pelinka, A. (2002). The FPO in comparative party sciences. On the typological classification of the FPO. Osterreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, 31, 281-290.
[11] Pelinka, A. (2004). The political system of Austria. In W. Ismayr (Ed.), The political systems of Western Europe (521-552). Wiesbaden: VSVerlag.
[12] Poguntke, T. (1999). Winner takes all: The FDP in 1982-1983: Maximizing votes, office, and policy? In W. C. Müller, & K. Strom (Eds.), Policy, office or votes? How political parties in Western Europe make hard decisions (pp. 216-236). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Copyright © 2024 by authors and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.

Creative Commons License

This work and the related PDF file are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.