Public Opinion, Turnout and Social Policy: A Comparative Analysis of Policy Congruence in European Liberal Democracies

Marc Hooghe, Ruth Dassonneville, Jennifer Oser

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

According to democratic theory, policy responsiveness is a key characteristic of democratic government: citizens’ preferences should affect policy outcomes. Empirically, however, the connection between public opinion and policy is not self-evident and is increasingly challenged. Using an originally constructed data set with information from 21 Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries between 1980 and 2014, our research design allows for a comprehensive investigation of the linkages between ideological positions of citizens, parliaments and cabinets on one hand, and redistributive policies in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development countries on the other hand. We find that the role of the cabinet is more important than that of parliament. Although citizens’ left–right positions do not have an effect (directly or indirectly) on the level of social expenditure, there is a connection between mass preferences and the ideological position of parliament and government in high-turnout contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)992-1009
Number of pages18
JournalPolitical Studies
Volume67
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2019

Keywords

  • democratic representation
  • electoral responsiveness
  • electoral systems
  • left–right
  • policy congruence
  • preference–policy linkage
  • redistribution
  • social expenditure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science

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