Electoral competition and the oversight game: A transaction cost approach and the Norwegian experience

Moshe Maor*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The central question addressed by this article is whether the absence of active competition changes the forces that shape the institutional landscape at the parliamentary level, and thereby the landscape itself. Based on a transaction cost approach, the study investigates whether the bolstering of parliamentary oversight procedures occurs in situations in which there is no credible alternative to the incumbent government, and whether opposition impotence contributes to the development of oversight institutions. The article argues that the strengthening of parliamentary oversight procedures is most likely to occur when there is a minority government but the opposition MPs are not in a position to form or envisage a credible alternative. An analysis of changes in oversight arrangements in Norway during 1993-1996 strongly supports this argument.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)371-388
Number of pages18
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
A version of this paper was presented at the 1997 SOG (IPSA) Conference on ‘The Political Control of the Bureaucracy’, Ben-Gurion University, Israel. Some of the data used here were originally collected during the project ‘Converging Administrative Systems’ which was funded by the ESRC (Project No. R000235266). The paper benefited greatly from the comments and criticism of George Jones, Joel Aberbach, Tom Christensen, and the anonymous reviewers. I am also indebted to Victoria Bø for research assistance. Of course, only the author can be held responsible for the analysis and interpretations presented here.


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