9780415591980

The Risk of Social Policy?: The electoral consequences of welfare state retrenchment and social policy performance in OECD countries

by ;
  • ISBN13:

    9780415591980

  • ISBN10:

    0415591988

  • Edition: 1st
  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2011-01-13
  • Publisher: Routledge
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Summary

The Risk of Social Policy? uses a comparative perspective to systematically analyse the effects of social policy reforms and welfare state retrenchment on voting choice for the government. It re-examines twenty elections in OECD countries to show if and how social policy issues drive elections.This book contributes to the existing literature by providing an empirical analysis of the electoral implications of social policy. Giger asks the basic research question: What are the electoral consequences of social policy performance and retrenchment? More specifically, the following questions are addressed in order to provide a systematic test of the topic: Is retrenchment indeed completely unpopular? Do people punish the government for bad performance in the field of social policy? And what are the political implications of such a punishment reaction; does it affect the government composition? It shows empirically that the risks of welfare state retrenchment to incumbent governments may be lower than previously thought, and presents a theoretical framework for re-examining the impact of retrenchment initiatives on election outcome.Making an important contribution to studies in political economy and welfare by questioning the assumption that social policy is an inherently controversial policy field in times of elections, The Risk of Social Policy? will be of interest to scholars and students concerned with the interplay between government and citizens, social policy and voting behaviour, and the political economy of welfare.

Table of Contents

List of figuresp. x
List of tablesp. xi
Acknowledgementsp. xiii
Introductionp. 1
Research questionp. 1
Structure of the bookp. 4
Welfare state research: the theoretical background for the research questionp. 7
Theories of welfare state developmentp. 7
Empirical development of Western welfare statesp. 13
Public support for the welfare statep. 14
My research question embedded in the welfare state literaturep. 18
Electoral research and issue voting: the theoretical background for the analysesp. 21
Issue voting theoryp. 21
Categorizations of issue effectsp. 26
Issue salience, attitude accessibility and the link between attitudes and behaviourp. 30
Empirical evidence for issue votingp. 34
Some concluding remarksp. 39
My research question in an electoral research frameworkp. 40
The context: more theoretical background for the analysesp. 46
Individuals nested in contextsp. 46
The clarity of responsibilityp. 48
The welfare state environmentp. 51
The electoral campaignp. 53
The context and implications for my research questionp. 57
Research strategy, design and methodp. 59
Elaboration of research steps and main hypothesesp. 59
Research strategyp. 65
Research design: data and time periodp. 68
Two theoretical modelsp. 69
Practical issues: the theoretical models and the actual datap. 80
Methodp. 85
The salience and performance of social policy in times of permanent austerityp. 91
The salience of social policyp. 91
The performance of social policyp. 95
Summaryp. 98
The impact of social policy attitudes on the incumbent votep. 99
The impact of social policy saliencep. 100
The impact of social policy performancep. 104
The impact of social policy salience and performance on defection from incumbent votep. 111
Summary of evidence of social policy attitudesp. 116
The impact of the context on the relationship between social policy attitudes and the incumbent votep. 118
Summary of evidence for contextual influencesp. 130
Welfare state retrenchment and the incumbent performance in social policyp. 131
Individual-level factors and contextual controlsp. 132
The influence of welfare state reformsp. 135
Summaryp. 141
Re-election at stake? The impact of social policy on the election outcomep. 142
The relative influence of the issue of social policyp. 142
The relative influence of social policy performancep. 145
Welfare state retrenchment and the campaign salience of social policyp. 147
The influence of social policy on real-world government compositionp. 148
Summaryp. 151
Discussion of results and conclusionp. 152
Joint discussion of resultsp. 152
General implications for the literaturep. 158
Future research proposalsp. 159
Notesp. 161
Referencesp. 169
Indexp. 191
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