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A coalition is a group of two or more actors (persons, organizations) working collectively against one or more others to gain better outcomes than the outcomes possible through independent action. An exchange network approach to coalitions differs from other coalition approaches by focusing on the structural embeddedness of the causes and consequences of coalition formation. In the coalition studies that permeated social theory during the 1950s and 1960s, the cause of coalition formation (power or resource inequalities) was normally given as initial conditions. In contrast, exchange theories treat initial inequalities as endogenous, determined by actors' locations in social structures.

Given the interrelatedness of coalitions and power, coalition processes figured prominently in early exchange approaches, especially Richard Emerson's work. But there have been relatively few contemporary investigations ...

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