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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Divided government in Canada Lockhart, Julia Kate

Abstract

Divided government in Canada refers to the common situation when the federal and provincial governments are held by different political parties. The study of divided government can aid in the understanding of voter behaviour. The thesis reviews the relevant literature on divided government, split-ticket voting and party identification in Canada and the United States. From the literature several voter strategies are extracted that describe the possible individual level processes that result in the aggregate outcome of divided government. This linkage, between individual decisions and collective outcomes, is crucial to understanding divided election outcomes and it is to the exploration of this concept that the thesis contributes. Using a dataset of party vote shares in provincial and federal elections from 1904 to 2003, the thesis looks for aggregate effects of the individual level strategies that it identifies. The thesis argues that divided government in Canada is a result of staggered election timing and policy learning across levels which combine to produce a cyclical effect in election results.

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