Accounting for Ministers uses the tools of modern political science to analyse the factors which determine the fortunes of Cabinet ministers. Utilising agency theory, it describes Cabinet government as a system of incentives for prime ministerial and parliamentary rule. The authors use a unique dataset of ministers from 1945 to 2007 to examine the structural and individual characteristics that lead to the selection and durability of ministers. Sensitive to historical context, it describes the unique features of different Prime Ministers and the sorts of issues and scandals that lead to the forced exit of ministers. The authors identify the structural factors that determine ministerial performance and tenure, seeing resignation calls as performance indicators. Probing the nature of individual and collective responsibility within Westminster forms of government, its rigorous analysis provides powerful new insights into the nature of Cabinet government.
Samuel Berlinski is Lead Research Economist in the Research Department of the Inter-American Development Bank. Torun Dewan is Reader in Political Science in the Department of Government at the London School of Economics and Political Science. Keith Dowding is Professor of Political Science in the School of Politics and International Relations, Research School of Social Sciences and Director of the Research College of Arts and Social Sciences at the Australian National University.
1. Introduction; 2. Managing the Cabinet: principal-agent relations in government; 3. The structure of British government; 4. Who serves in government and how long do they last?; 5. The Prime Minister and Cabinet; 6. Performance measures and forced exits; 7. Ministerial performance and tenure; 8. Conclusions; Bibliography; Index.