Scope‐Of‐Government Beliefs and Political Support

Ole Borre

in The Scope of Government

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294740
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598838 | DOI:

Series: Beliefs in Government

 Scope‐Of‐Government Beliefs and Political Support

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This chapter explores the consequences of beliefs about the scope of political support with a view to explaining the possible loss of political support in advanced democracies. Its main hypothesis is that policy distance—the distance between a voter's policy position and the actual policy of the government—reduces support for the political system. The analysis first examines the nature of this relationship, and then develops it in three ways: first, by introducing controls for party choice; second, by investigating whether it holds only for specific policy fields; third, by testing the further hypothesis that, in practice, it is ‘negative distance’—the tendency to demand ‘more’ rather than ‘less’ government, which accounts for the low level of support in countries with a low aggregate level of support. The evidence suggests that the fulfilment of public expectations and the securing of public support is likely to be a much bigger problem for governments of the less economically advanced societies.

Keywords: public support

Chapter.  8334 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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