Explaining extremity in the foreign policies of parliamentary democracies

Ryan K. Beasley*, Juliet Kaarbo

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)


Why do multiparty cabinets in parliamentary democracies produce more extreme foreign policies than single-party cabinets? Our paper argues that particular institutional and psychological dynamics explain this difference. We test this argument using a global events data set incorporating foreign policy behaviors of numerous multiparty and single-party governments. We find that more parties and weak parliaments promote extremity in coalitions, but parliamentary strength has the opposite effect for single-party governments. This study challenges existing expectations about the impact of democratic institutions on foreign policy.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)729-740
Number of pages12
JournalInternational Studies Quarterly
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 11 Dec 2014


  • International conflict behavior
  • Decision-making
  • Institutional constraints
  • Diversionary force
  • Initiation
  • Presidentialism
  • Deficits
  • Systems
  • Peace


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