Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Party government and policy responsiveness. Evidence from three parliamentary democracies

  • Dimiter Toshkov (a1), Lars Mäder (a2) and Anne Rasmussen (a1) (a2)
Abstract

Does party government moderate the responsiveness of public policy to public opinion? Analysing a new dataset, we examine whether the ability of governments to respond to the public on 306 specific policy issues in Denmark, Germany and the UK is affected by the extent of coalition conflict and by the fit of the considered policy changes with the government preferences. We find a systematic but relatively weak positive impact of public support on the likelihood and speed of policy change. Contrary to expectations, a higher number of coalition partners are not associated with fewer policy changes nor with weaker responsiveness to public opinion. We also find no evidence that responsiveness to public opinion is necessarily weaker for policy changes that go against the preferences of the government. Rather, it appears that public and government support for policy change are substitute resources.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Corresponding author. Email: d.d.toshkov@fgga.leidenuniv.nl
References
Hide All
Achen, CH Bartels, LM (2016) Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Alexandrova, P, Rasmussen, A Toshkov, D (2016) Agenda Responsiveness in the European Council: Public Priorities, Policy Problems and Political Attention. West European Politics 39(4): 605627.
Bakker, R, de Vries, C, Edwards, E, Hooghe, L, Jolly, S, Marks, G, Polk, J, Rovny, J, Steenbergen, M Vachudova, MA (2015) Measuring Party Positions in Europe: The Chapel Hill Expert Survey Trend File, 1999–2010. Party Politics 21(1): 143152.
Bertelli, AM John, P (2013) Public Policy Investment: Risk and Return in British Politics. British Journal of Political Science 43(4): 741773.
Bevan, S Rasmussen, A (2017) When does government listen to the public? Voluntary associations and dynamic agenda representation in the United States. Policy Studies Journal. Online First.
Bevan, S Jennings, W (2014) Representation, Agendas and Institutions. European Journal of Political Research 53(1): 3756.
Binder, SA (1999) The Dynamics of Legislative Gridlock, 1947-96. American Political Science Review 93(3): 519533.
Bräuninger, T, Debus, M Wüst, F (2015) Governments, Parliaments and Legislative Activity. Political Science Research and Methods 3(1): 126.
Brooks, C Manza, J (2006) Social policy responsiveness in developed democracies. American Sociological Review 71(3): 474494.
Burstein, P (2014) American Public Opinion, Advocacy and Policy in Congress. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Coleman, JJ (1999) Unified Government, Divided Government, and Party Responsiveness. The American Political Science Review 93(4): 821835.
Cusack, TR (2001) Partisanship in the Setting and Coordination of Fiscal and Monetary Policies. European Journal of Political Research 40(1): 93115.
Duch, R, Przepiorka, W Stevenson, R (2015) Responsibility Attribution for Collective Decision Makers. American Journal of Political Science 59(2): 372389.
Erikson, RS (2015) Policy Responsiveness to Public Opinion. In Oxford Bibliographies. https://doi.org/10.1093/OBO/9780199756223-0103 (accessed 1 June 2018).
Erikson, RS, Mackuen, MB Stimson, JA (2002) The Macro Polity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Gilens, M (2012) Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Gilens, M Page, BI (2014) Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens. Perspectives on Politics 12(3): 564581.
Imbeau, LM, Pétry, F Lamari, M (2001) Left-Right Party Ideology and Government Policies: A meta-analysis. European Journal of Political Research 40(1): 129.
Jennings, W John, P (2009) The Dynamics of Political Attention: Public Opinion and the Queen's Speech in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Political Science 53(4): 838854.
Katz, RS Mair, P (1995) Changing Models of Party Organization and Party Democracy. Party Politics 1(1): 528.
Klingemann, H-D, Volkens, A, Bara, J Budge, I (2007) Mapping Policy Preferences II: Estimates for Parties, Electors and Governments in Central and Eastern Europe, European Union and OECD 1990–2003. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Knill, C, Debus, M Heichel, S (2010) Do parties matter in internationalised policy areas? The impact of political parties on environmental policy outputs in 18 OECD countries, 1970–2000. European Journal of Political Research 49(3): 301336.
Konig, T (2007) Divergence or Convergence? From Ever-Growing to Ever-Slowing European Legislative Decision Making. European Journal of Political Research 46(3): 417444.
König, T, Tsebelis, G Debus, M (2010) Reform Processes and Policy Change: Veto Players and Decision-Making in Modern Democracies. Berlin, Germany: Springer Science & Business Media.
Laver, M Shepsle, KA (1994) Cabinet Ministers and Parliamentary Government. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Lax, JR Phillips, JH (2009) How Should We Estimate Public Opinion in The States ? American Journal of Political Science 53(1): 107121.
Lax, JR Phillips, JH (2012) The Democratic Deficit in the States. American Journal of Political Science 56(1): 148166.
Lowe, W, et al (2011) Scaling Policy Preferences from Coded Political Texts. Legislative Studies Quarterly 36(1): 123155.
Martin, LW (2004) The Government Agenda in Parliamentary Democracies. American Journal of Political Science 48(3): 445461.
Martin, LW Vanberg, G (2004) Policing the Bargain: Coalition Government and Parliamentary Scrutiny. American Journal of Political Science 48(1): 1327.
Martin, LW Vanberg, G (2011) Parliaments and Coalitions. The Role of Legislative Institutions in Multiparty Governance. New York: Oxford University Press.
Martin, LW Vanberg, G (2014) Parties and Policymaking in Multiparty Governments: The Legislative Median, Ministerial Autonomy, and the Coalition Compromise. American Journal of Political Science 58(4): 979996.
Merkel, W (2003) Institutionen und Reformpolitik: Drei Fallstudien zur Vetospieler-Theorie. Berliner Journal für Soziologie 13, 255274.
Monroe, AD (1998) Public Opinion and Public Policy, 1980–1993. The Public Opinion Quarterly 62(1): 628.
Page, BI Shapiro, RY (1983) Effects of Public-Opinion on Policy. American Political Science Review 77(1): 175190.
Rasmussen, A Toshkov, D (2013) The Effect of Stakeholder Involvement on Legislative Duration: Consultation of External Actors and Legislative Duration in the European Union. European Union Politics 14(3): 366387.
Rasmussen, A, Reher, S Toshkov, D (2018a) The Opinion-Policy Nexus in Europe and the Role of Political Institutions. European Journal of Political Research 56(1): 123.
Rasmussen, A, Romeijn, J Toshkov, D (2018b) Dynamics of Regulatory Policymaking in Sweden: The Role of Media Advocacy and Public Opinion. Scandinavian Political Studies 41(1): 4974.
Romeijn, J (2018) Do Political Parties Listen to the Public? Public Opinion–Party Linkage on Specific Policy Issues. Party Politics, OnlineFirst.
Saeki, M (2009) Gridlock in the Government of the United States: Influence of Divided Government and Veto Players. British Journal of Political Science 39(03): 587607.
Schermann, K Ennser-Jedenastik, L (2014) Coalition Policy-Making under Constraints: Examining the Role of Preferences and Institutions. West European Politics 37(3): 564583.
Schmitt, C (2016) Panel data analysis and partisan variables: how periodization does influence partisan effects. Journal of European Public Policy 23(10): 14421459.
Shapiro, RY (2011) Public Opinion and American Democracy. Public Opinion Quarterly 75(5): 9821017.
Shepsle, K (2010) Analyzing politics: Rationality, behavior, and institutions. New York, NY: W.W. Norton.
Strøm, K, Müller, WC Smith, DM (2010) Parliamentary Control of Coalition Governments. Annual Review of Political Science 13(1): 517535.
Toshkov, D (2011) Public Opinion and Policy Output in the European Union: A lost Relationship. European Union Politics 12(2): 169191.
Tsebelis, G (1999) Veto Players and Law Production in Parliamentary Democracies: An Empirical Analysis. American Political Science Review 93(3): 591608.
Tsebelis, G (2002) Veto Players: How Political Institutions Work. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Wlezien, C (1995) The Public as Thermostat – Dynamics of Preferences for Spending. American Journal of Political Science 39(4): 9811000.
Wlezien, C Soroka, S (2016) Public Opinion and Public Policy. Oxford Research Encyclopedia. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Wlezien, C Soroka, SN (2012) Political Institutions and the Opinion–Policy Link. West European Politics 35(6): 14071432.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Public Policy
  • ISSN: 0143-814X
  • EISSN: 1469-7815
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-public-policy
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Keywords

Type Description Title
WORD
Supplementary materials

Toshkov et al. supplementary material
Toshkov et al. supplementary material 1

 Word (211 KB)
211 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Toshkov et al. Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown

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