This study focuses on the allocation of politicians to cabinet offices in different institutional settings. We argue that cabinet ministers are appointed with the aim of minimizing the policy distance to the most important principal, which could be the Prime Minister, the coalition, or the individual parties that form the coalition. We advance this field of research by performing a comparative analysis of different coalition systems. We evaluate our hypotheses by estimating the policy positions of Austrian, German and Swedish politicians on the basis of a computerized content analysis of their speeches given in parliament. The results provide support for our argument and show that the policy distance towards the dominant principal is important for becoming a cabinet member.