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The Theory of Political Coalitions is a book on positive political theory written by William H. Riker published in 1962. It uses game theory to formalize political theory. In it, Riker deduces the size principle. On its postulates, politicians are proved to form winning, minimal-size coalitions. The work runs contrary to a previous theory that politicians try to maximize their respective votes. Riker supposes that attracting more votes requires resources and that politicians run to win. So, a rational politician tries to form a coalition that is as large as necessary to win but not larger.

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