Accepted for publication in the American Economic Journal: Applied Economics
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This paper studies how political fragmentation affects government stability. Using a regression-discontinuity design, we show that each additional party with representation in the local parliament increases the probability that the incumbent government is unseated by 5 percentage points. The entry of an additional party affects stability by reducing the probability of a single-party majority and increasing the instability of governments when such a majority is not feasible. We interpret our results in light of a bargaining model of coalition formation featuring government instability.