Incentives for Policy Pandering

in Who Leads Whom?

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2005 | ISBN: 9780226092805
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226092492 | DOI:
Incentives for Policy Pandering

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This chapter presents a theory, the Conditional Pandering Theory, which analyzes the incentives of presidents to follow public opinion when they believe doing so would not advance societal welfare. The Conditional Pandering Theory has two primary contributions. First, it generates predictions about the conditions under which a president who believes that citizens are misinformed will nonetheless cater to this mass opinion. Second, the theory produces hypotheses about overall congruence between the president's policy choices and public opinion. The chapter first presents the theory in three sections: an outline of the conceptual background; a discussion, with hypothetical examples, of the policy incentives induced by this framework; and a statement of the general results. It then returns to the literature on political responsiveness. Comparing the Conditional Pandering Theory to this work highlights the contributions of the theoretical analysis, both in terms of understanding policy pandering as well as overall congruence between presidents' policy choices and public opinion.

Keywords: Conditional Pandering Theory; societal welfare; public opinion; mass opinion; policy choices; political responsiveness

Chapter.  7602 words. 

Subjects: US Politics

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