The coalition literature has thrived during the 20th century, and now constitutes not only a consolidated field in political science, but also one of the most productive fields in terms of theoretical and methodological approaches. Throughout this history, coalition models have played a key role in tailoring explanations about various phenomena such as coalition formation, functioning, and breakdown. Nonetheless, a serious appreciation of their contribution to the development of the field is still lacking. In this context, this paper proposes a taxonomy of models that aims to assess the various functions that coalition models are designed for. I argue that models come in different flavours, namely: conceptual, whose goal consists in formalising abstract concepts via mathematical expressions; quasi-conceptual, which aim to explain empirical regularities; and extrapolative, which test hypotheses with empirical data. The paper surveys classical and more recent works, drawing attention to the different types of models, as well as their theoretical and empirical contributions to the coalition literature.
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