This article argues that regional government formation in decentralized countries follows different rules than national government formation in unitary states. It revises some basic assumptions that classical coalition formation theory makes, positing that in multi-level settings parties do not behave as unitary actors, that the goals they pursue might vary across levels at any given time, that regional coalition formation is part of a two-level game and that the policy space in which coalitions are mapped is often two-dimensional. Employing a combination of quantitative and qualitative techniques, several classical propositions are tested in light of these revised assumptions on data about Spanish regional governments. We find that classical predictors do their fair share, but multi-level factors are crucial in explaining the making and breaking of regional governments.
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