Selecting Ministers in Times of Crisis: A Historical Analysis of the Role of Intra-Party Politics and Union Background in Swedish Cabinet Appointments 1917–2014

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In this article, we connect intra-party politics to macro events by asking what types of ministers are selected in times of fiscal crisis. Drawing on the previous literature we present two alternative hypotheses about the role of the union background in cabinet selection: (1) ministers with union background are less likely to be appointed during crises, since they are likely to oppose necessary spending cuts and (2) ministers with union background are more likely to be appointed during crises, since there is a need to appease union factions within the party. We evaluate these hypotheses using a unique historical dataset on the background of ministers in Sweden between 1917 and 2014. Overall, we find strong support for the hypothesis that fiscal crises increase the likelihood that ministers will have a union background, suggesting that ministers are appointed to appease the union faction within the party in times of fiscal crisis.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)


  • economic crisis, intra-party politics, ministerial selection, trade unions
Original languageEnglish
JournalPolitical Studies
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2019 Jan 2
Publication categoryResearch