|Università degli Studi di Milano
|responsiveness; political parties; social policy; labor market policy; voting behaviours; representative democracy; partisanship; Settore SPS/04 - Scienza Politica
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This dissertation investigates how well political parties, especially those holding executive positions, achieve policy congruence by translating voters’ redistributive preferences into consistent social policy outcomes. It addresses this topic by conducting large-N studies with the aid of quantitative techniques. It is made up of six chapters. Chapter I provides the theoretical background. In detail, it defines the meaning of the elusive concept of political representation; it discusses the expressive and the instrumental functions that political parties are expected to perform in contemporary representative democracies and recalls party government theories formulated from the 1970s. This literature review allows reorganizing the core stipulations for party government to emerge in a unified theoretical framework. Chapter II begins the journey along the ideal chain of responsiveness from voters' redistributive preferences to actual social policy outcomes. In detail, it focuses on the first link of this ideal chain by verifying whether and to what extent the economic conditions people experience in their everyday life, which are largely given by the position they occupy in the labor market, determine their redistributive preferences and political behaviors. Combining individual level data from the European Social Surveys for 23 OECD countries with party level information from the Comparative Manifesto Project Database, this chapter demonstrates that individuals tend to feel closer to political parties which express in their electoral manifestos social policy supplies consistent with their redistributive preferences. These results are obtained trough discrete choice models, instrumental variables and matching statistical techniques. Chapter III deals with the second link of the chain of responsiveness, addressing a perennial question for students of parliamentary democracy, namely how do coalition governments build their policy proposals. In detail, chapter III explores the degree of correspondence between declared cabinet position and the weighted position of cabinet parties as expressed in their electoral manifestos on two separate issues: the traditionally employed left-right scale and a more policy based welfare scale. Results obtained through a time-series cross-section methodology suggest that “the owners of the agenda setting power” over the two scales are different. In particular, on the traditional left-right scale, declared cabinet position is strongly driven by the weighted position of cabinet parties and by that of the formateur party. Conversely, on the welfare scale, declared cabinet position is also affected by the position of the party holding the median legislator in Parliament and by those of the parties expressing the labor and social affairs ministers. In addition, declared cabinet position on the welfare dimension shows a marked tendency to drift rightward with adverse economic conditions. Chapter IV investigates the last link of the chain of responsiveness between governing parties' long… Advisors/Committee Members: tutor: L. Curini, director: F. Zucchini, CURINI, LUIGI.