Bilateralism concerns relations or policies of joint action between two parties. It can be contrasted with unilateralism (where one party acts on its own) and multilateralism (where three or more parties are involved). Typically, the term has applications concerning political, economic, and security matters between two states. Bilateralism has both costs and benefits, and there is a debate on its merits relative to unilateral or multilateral approaches.
Copyright © 2008 Gale, Cengage Learning. This book chapter first appeared in International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences.
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Legro, Jeffrey W. "Bilateralism." In International Encyclopedia of the Social Sciences, volume 1, 2nd edition, edited by William A Darity, Jr., 296-297. Detroit: Macmillan Reference USA, 2008.