Government formation and policy formulation : Patterns in Belgium and the Netherlands

  • Robert L. Peterson
  • Martine De Ridder
  • J.D. Hobbs
  • E.F. McClellan


Based on a study of three Belgian and Dutch government formations, this article examines the relationship between the formation of government coalition's and the formulation of public policy. The government formation process is disaggregated into three stages : the selection of participants in the bargaining process, the negotiation of the governmental agreement and the allocation of portfolios. These stages are then discussed in the context of a schema which focusses on the effects of contextual, relational and outcome components. By modifying assumptions made in traditional coalition studies, the government formation process is seen as involving the transfer
of issues from institutional arenas to a non-institutional arena in which bargaining processes are used to map and develop issue specific areas of consensus.

How to Cite:

Peterson, R. & De Ridder, M. & Hobbs, J. & McClellan, E., (1983) “Government formation and policy formulation : Patterns in Belgium and the Netherlands”, Res Publica 25(1), 49-82. doi:

Download pdf
View PDF



Published on
30 Mar 1983
Peer Reviewed