Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home

Effects of Public Opinion on Policy

  • Benjamin I. Page (a1) and Robert Y. Shapiro (a2) (a3)

Abstract

The responsiveness of government policies to citizens' preferences is a central concern of various normative and empirical theories of democracy. Examining public opinion and policy data for the United States from 1935 to 1979, we find considerable congruence between changes in preferences and in policies, especially for large, stable opinion changes on salient issues. We present evidence that pubic opinion is often a proximate cause of policy, affecting policy more than policy influences opinion. One should be cautious, however, about concluding that democratic responsiveness pervades American politics.

Copyright

References

Hide All
Achen, C. H. 1978. Measuring representation. American Journal of Political Science 22:475510.
Arrow, K. J. 1963, orig. pub. 1951. Social choice and individual values. New York: John Wiley and Sons.
Dahl, R. A. 1956. A preface to democratic theory. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Davis, J. A. 1975. Communism, conformity, cohorts, and categories: American tolerance in 1954 and 1972-73. American Journal of Sociology 81: 491513.
Davis, O. A., Hinich, M. J., and Ordeshook, P. C. 1970. An expository development of a mathematical model of the electoral process. American Political Science Review 64:426–48.
Dempsey, G. R. 1982. Public opinion and public policy: a case study of campaign finance in the United States. Unpublished, University of Chicago.
Devine, D. J. 1970. The attentive public: polyarchial democracy. Chicago: Rand McNally and Co.
Downs, A. 1957. An economic theory of democracy. New York: Harper.
Edelman, M. 1964. The symbolic uses of politics. Urbana, Ill.: University of Illinois Press.
Erikson, R. S. 1976. The relationship between public opinion and state policy: a new look based on some forgotten data. American Journal of Political Science 22:2536.
Erikson, R. S. 1978. Constituency opinion and congressional behavior: a reexamination of the Miller-Stokes representation data. American Journal of Political Science 22:511–35.
Erikson, R. S. 1981. Measuring constituency opinion: the 1978 congressional election study. Legislative Studies Quarterly 6:235–45.
Hanushek, E. A., and Jackson, J. E. 1977. Statistical methods for social scientists. New York: Academic Press.
Hardin, R. 1982. Collective action. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press.
Karplus, S. S. 1979. Public opinion and policy change: the legalization of abortion in the United States. Unpublished, University of Chicago.
Key, V. O. Jr. 1961. Public opinion and American democracy. New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Kuklinski, J. H. 1977. Public opinion: a test of the surrogate model. Public Opinion Quarterly 41: 3440.
Kuklinski, J. H. 1978. Representation and elections: a policy analysis. American Political Science Review 72: 165–77.
Kusnitz, L. 1980. Public opinion and foreign policy: the recognition of the People's Republic of China. Unpublished, University of Chicago.
McConnell, G. 1966. Private power and American democracy. New York: Random House.
McNichol, E. 1980. School busing for integration: a case study in opinion change and policy change. Master's thesis, University of Chicago.
Miliband, R. 1976, orig. pub. 1969. The state in capitalist society. London: Basic Books.
Mill, J. S. 1962, orig. pub. 1861. Considerations on representative government. Chicago: Henry Regnery.
Miller, W. E., and Stokes, D. E.Constituency influence in Congress. American Political Science Review 57: 4556.
Miller, W. E., and Stokes, D. E. 1966. Constituency influence in Congress. In Elections and the Political Order, eds. Campbell, A., Converse, P. E., Miller, W. E.. New York: John Wiley and Sons, pp. 351–73.
Monroe, A. D. 1978. Public opinion and public policy, 1960-1974. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York.
Monroe, A. D. 1979. Consistency between public preferences and national policy decisions. American Politics Quarterly 7:319.
Nie, N. H., Verba, S., and Petrocik, J. R. 1976. The changing American voter. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Olson, M. 1965. The logic of collective action. Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press.
Page, B. I., and Shapiro, R. Y. 1980. Policy change and public opinion change. Unpublished, University of Chicago.
Page, B. I., and Shapiro, R. Y. 1981a. Congruence between preferences and policy: a preliminary report. Presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, Cincinnati.
Page, B. I., and Shapiro, R. Y. 1981b. Effects of public opinion on policy. Presented at the annual meeting of the American Political Science Association, New York.
Page, B. I., and Shapiro, R. Y. 1982. Changes in Americans' policy preferences, 1935-1979. Public Opinion Quarterly 46:2442.
Page, B. I., Shapiro, R. Y., Gronke, P. W., and Rosenberg, R. M. 1981. Constituency, party, and representation in Congress. Unpublished, National Opinion Research Center, University of Chicago.
Scammon, R. M., and Wattenberg, B. J. 1970. The real majority. New York: Berkley Publishing Corporation.
Schattschneider, E. E. 1960. The semi-sovereign people. Hinsdale, Ill.: The Dryden Press.
Schmaler, E. 1981. Race and housing: a case study of democratic responsiveness comparing opinion change to policy response. Unpublished, University of Chicago.
Seidman, D. 1975. Simulation of public opinion: a caveat. Public Opinion Quarterly 39:331–41.
Sen, A. K. 1970. Collective choice and social welfare. San Francisco: Holden-Day.
Shapiro, R. Y. 1982. The dynamics of public opinion and public policy. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.
Smith, T. W. 1978. In search of house effects: a comparison of responses to various questions by different survey organizations. Public Opinion Quarterly 42:443–63.
Smith, T. W. 1980. America's most important problem—a trend analysis, 1946-1976. Public Opinion Quarterly 44:164–80.
Taylor, D. G. 1978. The diffusion and change of public attitudes toward some social issues in recent American history. Ph.D. dissertation, University of Chicago.
Weber, R. E., and Shaffer, W. R. 1972. Public opinion and American state policy-making. Midwest Journal of Political Science 16:683–99.
Weber, R. E., Hopkins, A. H., Mezey, M. L., and Munger, F. J. 1972-1973. Computer simulation of state electorates. Public Opinion Quarterly 36:549–65.
Weissberg, R. 1976. Public opinion and popular government. Englewood Cliffs, N.J.: Prentice-Hall.
Weissberg, R. 1978. Collective vs. dyadic representation in Congress. American Political Science Review 72: 535–47.
Wise, D. 1973. The politics of lying. New York: Vintage Books.

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed