Who Controls Short‐Term Policymaking?

Michael D. McDonald and Ian Budge

in Elections, Parties, Democracy

Published in print October 2005 | ISBN: 9780199286720
Published online February 2006 | e-ISBN: 9780191603327 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

 Who Controls Short‐Term Policymaking?

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This chapter considers what happens after parties negotiate a government. How far do they succeed in carrying out their original intentions and thereby effectuating the preferences of the median voter? The analysis of government declarations gives mixed signals about who is in control of policy. On a general Left-Right orientation, the policy position marked by a country's median voter is the most reliably consistent indicator of what a government intends to do. If this effect is causal, it would have to be due to parliaments and governments looking over their shoulders at what the election communicated about the median voter Left–Right position and anticipating policy benefits at the next election, as opposed to the median voter effectively selecting a median parliamentary position that then takes control of the general tenor of policy. If the parliamentary median were the major influence, it would be the variable that withstood controls for the government and electorate. It does not come close to this however. And, while the government's Left–Right position nearly withstands statistical controls, the magnitude of its effect pales in comparison to that of the electorate's position.

Keywords: government policy; policymaking; policy development; media voter; electorate; parliamentary median

Chapter.  5359 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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