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Political Research Exchange

Public Opinion and Public Policy - Analyzing Feedback Effects in Comparative Politics

Comparative Politics
European Politics
Political Competition
Political Economy
Public Policy
Welfare State
Workshop Number
Workshop Director
Ellen M. Immergut
Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Workshop Co-Director
Jane Gingrich
University of Oxford

This workshop invites research that investigates the relationship between public opinion and policy outcomes. While classic works by Schattschneider, Lowi or Wilson examined these linkages, for a long time the empirical analysis of public policies and mass politics have been separate. In recent years, scholars studying public policy developments (especially in the
welfare state) have argued that it is necessary to bring public opinion back into the analysis, developing a ‘demand driven’ approach to understanding policy (Brooks and Manza, 2006; Rehm, 2011). Yet even as this work has theorised mass attitudes as a cause of policy, other work suggested that different policy contexts themselves were feeding back into democratic demands.(Gingrich and Ansell, 2012; Campbell, 2012) Moreover, recent work from the United States argues that who policy makers are responsive to may vary across policy contexts (Gilens, 2012). How then do we understand the nexus between the existing political context, voter preferences and policy change?

This workshop investigates these crucial questions, with the goal of bringing
together scholars from policy studies and mass attitudes to investigate how we can better understand feedback loop in democratic public policy making (Are governments responsive to public opinion? Do policies affect individual preferences?).

In particular, we want to focus on how contextual features of advanced
democracies - political institutions, interest groups and political parties - moderate these relationships. Moreover, while we are convinced that it is interesting and necessary to study both feedback effects and political responsiveness in a comparative perspective, we are aware of the empirically and inferential challenges in analyzing them. Hence, we particularly encourage contributions that employ novel designs and methods to establish causality or probe the theoretical mechanisms assumed in the existing literature.

Paper List

Title Details
Austerity for the Win? The Effect of Fiscal Consolidation on Political Support for the Government View Paper Details
Differential Policy Responsiveness in Europe and its Determinants View Paper Details
Does Family Policy Affect Individual Perceptions of Time Conflict in the Reconciliation of Family, Work and Leisure Activities? View Paper Details
Elites’ Knowledge of the Public’s Issue Priorities. The Accuracy of Policy Makers’ Assessment of what the Public Cares about in Three Countries View Paper Details
From Public to Policy: The Conditioning Role of Electoral Competitiveness View Paper Details
How do Citizen Preferences Shape Politician Behaviour? View Paper Details
Policy Representation in the UK, 1945-2015 View Paper Details
Policymakers’ Responsiveness to Public Priorities. A Survey-Embedded Experiment with Politicians in Belgium, Canada and Israel View Paper Details
Public Opinion, Trust, and the Social Investment State – Evidence from a New Survey View Paper Details
Reflecting the Public Interest? How European News Media Cover Public Opinion Cues on EU Legislative Politics View Paper Details
Responding to Whom? Political Parties, Interest Groups and Voters View Paper Details
Rights for Same-Sex Couples and Public Attitudes toward Gays and Lesbians in Europe View Paper Details
Standing in Line when Queues are on Decline. Policy Proximity and Evaluations of Health Care Services Following the Swedish Waiting Time Guarantee Policies View Paper Details
The Comparative Macropolity: Public Opinion, Proportionality and Veto Gates View Paper Details
The Electoral Consequences of (unpopular) Reforms View Paper Details
The Impact of Health Policy Reform on Public Opinion View Paper Details
The Institutional-Political Foundations of Social Class Differences in Pro-Redistribution Attitudes: A Cross-National Analysis, 1985-2010 View Paper Details
The Politics of Sanctioning the Unemployed View Paper Details
Trade-Offs in Social Policy Reforms: Interacting Policy Context and Socio-Structural Characteristics View Paper Details
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