Radical Moderation: Recapturing Power in Two-Party Parliamentary Systems


  • We thank the editor and anonymous referees for helpful comments, as well as Claire Lim, and audiences at Rochester, Binghamton, the MPSA, and APSA. Kalandrakis thanks the IQSS for hospitality. Supplemental information and replication materials for the analyses contained in this article can be found online at http://www.rochester.edu/college/faculty/kalandrakis/.

Tasos Kalandrakis is Associate Professor of Political Science and Economics, University of Rochester, Box 270146, Rochester, NY 14627-0146 (kalandrakis@rochester.edu).

Arthur Spirling is Assistant Professor of Government, Harvard University, Department of Government, 1737 Cambridge St., Cambridge, MA 02138 (http://aspirling@gov.harvard.edu).


We estimate the parameters of a reputational game of political competition using data from five two-party parliamentary systems. We find that latent party preferences (and party reputations) persist with high probability across election periods, with one exception: parties with extreme preferences who find themselves out of power switch to moderation with higher probability than the equivalent estimated likelihood for parties in government (extreme or moderate) or for moderate parties in opposition. We find evidence for the presence of significant country-specific differences. We subject the model to a battery of goodness-of-fit tests and contrast model predictions with survey and vote margin data not used for estimation. Finally, according to the estimated model parameters, Australia is less than half as likely to experience extreme policies and Australian governments can expect to win more consecutive elections in the long run as compared to their counterparts in Greece, Malta, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom.