From Declared to Actual Policy: Short‐Term Influences on Government Policies

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

From Declared to Actual Policy: Short‐Term Influences on Government Policies

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Manifestoes and declarations state priorities for policy rather than getting down to the nitty-gritty. Actual decision-making involves the allocation of scarce resources, and this is examined in this chapter. The policies selected are those that square with those investigated in government declarations. One involves two sets of indicators of the size of a country's public economy — one for 1982 and another for 1992 — measured by central government spending as a percentage of gross domestic product (GDP). These are analyzed in relationship both to the Left–Right positions of electorates, parliaments, and governments as well as to the planning versus market orientation of parliaments, governments, and finance ministries. A second set comes from two indicators of support for welfare. One is Esping–Anderson's (1990) scoring of welfare provision from the early 1980s; the other is the level of social spending as a percentage of GDP from the early 1990s. The third policy is covered by another two indicators, of a peaceful versus militarist orientation to international affairs. One is the level of foreign economic aid as a percentage of GDP from the early 1980s, and the other the ratio of foreign economic aid to defence spending from the early 1990s.

Keywords: government policy; policymaking; resource allocation; Left–Right positions; welfare

Chapter.  5006 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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