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Martin and Stevenson: Government formation in parliamentary democracies

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Martin and Stevenson. 2001. Government formation in parliamentary democracies. Journal of Political Science 45 (January): 33-50.

In Brief

An empirical evaluation of several traditional theories about cabinet formation. Assesses the "impact of recent new-institutionalist theories on our ability to explain and predict government formation." A review of prominent theories. See notes.

Main point: Most of these hypotheses are partly right. All the various theories of cabinet formation are partly significant. It's like each theorist is blindfolded and touching part of an elephant: they haven't yet figured out what the whole animal looks like. Martin and Stevenson encourage an integration of the various theories to form a more inclusive theory of the whole elephant.