BJPS article on Council coalition building online

My paper on Coalition-Building and Consensus in the Council of the European Union has been pre-published by the British Journal of Political Science as part of their FirstView online service.


Although qualified-majority voting is possible, member states in the Council of the European Union
(EU) still adopt most policies by consensus. The agent-based model of coalition building in multilateral
negotiations presented here addresses this puzzle. The model demonstrates that consensual decisions may
emerge as an unintended by-product of government representatives’ desire to form blocking coalitions.
A qualitative case study demonstrates the plausibility of the model’s assumptions and resulting coalitionbuilding
dynamics. Moreover, a quantitative test shows that the model’s predictions correspond closely
to the observed consensus rates. Finally, computational experiments predict a positive effect of the voting
threshold but no effect of increases in membership on winning coalition size, which has important
practical implications for institutional design and enlargement policy.