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

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

© The Author(s) 2019. 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.
Journal: Political Studies
ISSN: 0032-3217
Issue: 4
Volume: 67
Pages: 992 - 1009
Number of pages: 18
Publication year:2019