Degrees of democracy: politics, public opinion, and policy
Cambridge University Press, 2010 - Political Science - 241 pages
This book develops and tests a "thermostatic" model of public opinion and policy, in which preferences for policy both drive and adjust to changes in policy. The representation of opinion in policy is central to democratic theory and everyday politics. So too is the extent to which public preferences are informed and responsive to changes in policy. The coexistence of both "public responsiveness" and "policy representation" is thus a defining characteristic of successful democratic governance, and the subject of this book. The authors examine both responsiveness and representation across a range of policy domains in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The story that emerges is one in which representative democratic government functions surprisingly well, though there are important differences in the details. Variations in public responsiveness and policy representation responsiveness are found to reflect the "salience" of the different domains and governing institutions - specifically, presidentialism (versus parliamentarism) and federalism (versus unitary government).
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Public Opinion and Policy in Representative
The Thermostatic Model
Adding Issues and Institutions
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actually analysis Appendix Table appropriations average budgetary policy Canadian Canadian dollars capture Chapter citizens combined social domains Constant N Rsq crime defense spending democracy descriptive representation division of powers domains and countries dynamic effect election Environment evidence expect feedback coefficients Figure fiscal Full Results groups Health important increase instance institutions issue salience Kingdom and Canada less level of government level of policy level of spending majoritarian majoritarian systems marginality measure Nuffield College opinion and policy outlays parliamentary systems party control policy change policy domains policy representation policymakers political politicians polls preferences for policy Prefs presidential systems public opinion public preferences public responsiveness relative preferences represent representative democracy responsiveness and policy responsiveness to policy Results for Table Roper poll Rsq Adj Rsq shift Soroka spending preferences standardized coefficients Statistics Canada thermostatic model three countries tion U.S. dollars United Kingdom variable variance vary vote Wlezien