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Engendering Bilateralism: An Exploration of Possible Sources of Non-Centrism in Government Formation*


This paper seeks to identify factors that may lie behind the tendency for parliamentary governments to form primarily from one side of the left-right spectrum and to adopt non-centrist policy positions. Because of measurement limitations as well as the inherent complexity of the processes involved, this exploration is undertaken through simulation experiments. The new software created for these experiments allows the potential impact of a wide variety of factors, including voter and party motivations and distributions, policy space dimensionality, and constraints on government formation, to be assessed. Although the results cannot tell us what fosters non-centrism in the real world, they do reveal some factors that appear to be conducive to that end and thus serve as a guide to further research on this neglected topic.

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Paul V. Warwick, Professor Emeritus, Department of Political Science, School for International Studies, Simon Fraser University, 8888 University Drive, Burnaby, Vancouver, BC, V5A 1S6 ( To view supplementary material for this article, please visit

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Political Science Research and Methods
  • ISSN: 2049-8470
  • EISSN: 2049-8489
  • URL: /core/journals/political-science-research-and-methods
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