British Journal of Political Science

Published by Cambridge University Press

Online ISSN: 1469-2112


Print ISSN: 0007-1234


Does Spending on Defence Cut Spending on Health?: A Time-Series Analysis of the U.S. Economy 1929–74
  • Article

February 1979


17 Reads

Kathleen Peroff


Margaret Podolak-Warren
When public programme demands exceed resources, tradeoffs between different public policies occur; that is, one policy gains while another loses in the allocation of these resources. Tradeoffs are most easily measured in terms of budgetary expenditures. If the budget is expanding, the consequences of tradeoffs are less severe than when the budget contracts or remains stable, and budgetary decisions involve zero-sum games. However, the concept of tradeoff is still relevant in an expanding budget since decisions are made about how the additional resources are to be allocated, and while all policy areas may gain, some obviously will receive more resources than others.

Experts at Work: State Autonomy, Social Learning and Eugenic Sterilization In 1930s Britain
  • Article
  • Full-text available

February 1999


342 Reads

One influential strand of public policy-making theory imputes considerable autonomy to civil servants (and politicians) from social pressures; and, in Heclo's variant, conceives of policy makers as engaging in a benign process of social learning, the results of which benefit society. In this article we use the campaign to enact legislation for voluntary sterilization as an example of such a process. The analysis is based on archival records of the deliberations of the Brock Committee (1932–34), established to investigate the desirability of sterilization; it demonstrates how the committee attempted to develop a stronger case for the measure than warranted by the scientific evidence. We argue that the content of the Brock Committee's deliberations conforms in broad terms to the predictions of social learning theory, but that the process was more complicated than this framework would suggest, involving a significant element of interest-group lobbying, thereby weakening the autonomy of state policy makers. Furthermore, the deliberations themselves give cause to revise the laudatory view, more or less explicit in social learning theory, of policy experts' machinations.

American Assassins: An Alternative Typology

February 1981


18 Reads

Probably no group of political actors is more misunderstood than American assassins. My purpose in this preliminary report is to identify the sources of this misunderstanding and to suggest an alternative interpretation based on a reconsideration of the evidence.

Bargaining Theory and Portfolio Payoffs in European Coalition Governments 1945–83

October 1983


15 Reads

The distribution of cabinet posts in multiparty coalition governments in twelve European countries in the period 1945-1983 is considered. The efficacy of three payoff theories, namely Gamson's proportional payoff, the kernel and the bargaining set, as predictors of portfolio distribution, are compared. It is found that the Gamson predictor is superior in five countries which tend to be characterized by a relatively unfragmented political system, while the bargaining set is more appropriate in the highly fragmented political systems. The kernel can be disregarded as a payoff predictor. The results provide some empirical justification for the restricted (B2) bargaining set as a payoff predictor in simple voting games with transferable value.

Fig. 1. Ministerial survivor function, 1945–97 
Fig. 3. Ministerial survivor function and government characteristics 
The Length of Ministerial Tenure in the United Kingdom, 1945–97

October 2007


202 Reads

We analyse the determinants of ministerial hazard rates in Britain from 1945 to 1997. We focus on three sets of attributes (i) personal characteristics of the minister; (ii) political characteristics of the minister; and (iii) characteristics pertaining to the government in which the minister serves. We find that educational background increases ministers' capacity to survive, that female ministers have lower hazard rates and older ministers have higher hazard rates. Experienced ministers have higher hazard rates than newly appointed ministers. Ministerial rank increases a minister's capacity to survive, with full cabinet members having the lowest hazard rates in our sample.We use different strategies to control for the characteristics of the government the minister serves in. Our results are robust to any of these controls.

Table 1 :Mean scores on the independent variables in 47 societies, mid-1990s
Figure A2: Histogram of the Social Capital Index (Associational Activism*Social Trust)
Making Democracies Work: Social Capital and Civic Engagement in 47 Societies

November 2001


4,630 Reads

Many theorists have long emphasized the importance of civic society and voluntary associations as vital to the lifeblood of democracy. Interest in this perennial topic has been revived by Putnam's theory of social capital claiming that rich and dense associational networks facilitate the underlying conditions of interpersonal trust, tolerance and cooperation, providing the social foundations for a vibrant democracy. Despite widespread interest, conclusive evidence supporting these claims in a wide range of nations remains elusive. The first part of this paper reviews and summarizes three central claims at the heart of Putnam?s theory. Part II outlines the conceptual and methodological problems of measuring trends in social capital with the available empirical evidence. Part III develops an index of social capital, combining the distribution of associational activism with social trust. In Part IV this Index is operationalized and measured using the World Values Study to compare the distribution and dimensions of social capital in the mid-1990s in 47 nations around the world. Part V uses the Index to examine the consequences of social capital and its component parts for socioeconomic and democratic development. The study establishes predictable patterns in the distribution of social capital around the world, and long-standing cultural traditions and historical legacies can help to explain the contrasts found among global regions. There are two core components in Putnam's definition of social capital, social networks and social trust. The study finds that when combined into a single index it is true, as Putnam suggests, that social capital is strongly and significantly related to multiple interrelated indicators of socioeconomic development and to institutional indicators of democratization. But if we disentangle the twin components of Putnam's definition of social capital, what is driving this process is the social trust dimension, not the associational network dimension. Given the ambiguities in operationalization, three alternative measures of associational membership and activism are employed and tested, in exploratory analysis, but these are rarely significant across almost all indicators, no matter which measure is used. Moreover social capital was only weakly related to cultural indicators of political system support. The conclusion considers the implications of the results for "making democracies work", and whether a strong and vibrant civic society is a necessary condition for the process of democratization.

Comment on ‘A Landscape Theory of Aggregation’

February 1999


156 Reads

The problem of aggregation processes in alignments is the subject of a paper published in a Statistical Physics Journal (Physica A 230 (1996) 174-188). Two models are presented and discussed in that paper. First the energy landscape model proposed by Axelrod and Bennett (B. J. Pol. S. 23 (1993) 211-233) is analysed. The model is shown not to include most of its claimed results. Then a second model is presented to reformulate correctly the problem within statistical physics and to extend it beyond the initial Axelrod-Bennett analogy.

Table 1 : Coalitions by vote distribution 
Table 2 : Frequency of coalitions, minimal winning and larger, connected and not 
Table 3 : Frequency of coalitions containing superfluous parties 
Table 4 shows the frequency of two forms of 'sincere' voting on the part of P- participants, firstly voting for their own party and secondly voting for some other 
When to Coalesce: Early Versus Late Coalition Announcement in an Experimental Democracy

January 2008


195 Reads

In multi-party democracies, several parties usually have to join together in coalition to form government. Many aspects of that process have been fairly fully investigated, others less so. Among the latter is the timing of the formation and announcement of coalitions. While the dominant popular image may be one of parties meeting together after the election to hammer out a coalition agreement, pre-election coalitions of one sort or another are actually quite common. In almost half of the elections in OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) countries since the Second World War, at least one pair of parties had pre-announced their intention to join together in government. A quarter of governments formed were based wholly (and another quarter in part) on pre-election agreements. To date, such studies as there have been of pre-election coalitions have concentrated primarily on system-level explanations – features of the electoral system (majoritarian or proportional, and so on) that make such arrangements more or less likely.3 Here we shall instead look more at the agent-level logic of ‘early’ (pre-election) versus ‘late’ (post-election) coalition formation, from the point of view of voters and parties. hypotheses concerning coalition timing In the tradition of Downs and Riker and their coalition-theorist progeny, we shall assume that voters are interested primarily in getting policies adopted which are close to their ‘ideal points’ in policy space, and that parties are interested primarily in winning office to implement policies as close as possible to their ‘ideal points’ in policy space. That leads parties to strive for ‘minimal connected winning coalitions’: ‘connected’ in the sense that they link parties adjacent in policy space; ‘minimal’ in the sense that they involve the party's sharing power with the fewest parties backed by fewest voters that it can and still win.

Does Church Attendance Cause People to Vote? Using Blue Laws' Repeal to Estimate the Effect of Religiosity on Voter Turnout

October 2008


137 Reads

Regular church attendance is strongly associated with a higher probability of voting. It is an open question as to whether this association, which has been confirmed in numerous surveys, is causal. We use the repeal of the laws restricting Sunday retail activity ("Blue laws") to measure the effects of church-going on political participation. The repeal of Blue Laws caused a 5 percent decrease in church attendance. We measure the effect of Blue Laws' repeal on political participation and find that following the repeal turnout falls by approximately 1 percentage point. This turnout decline, which is statistically significant and fairly robust across model specifications, is consistent with the large effect of church attendance on turnout reported in the literature, and suggests that church attendance may have significant causal influence on voter turnout.

Expressive Political Behaviour: Foundations, Scope and Implications

January 2009


170 Reads

Corruption in the public sector erodes tax compliance and leads to higher tax evasion. Moreover, corrupt public officials abuse their public power to extort bribes from the private agents. In both types of interaction with the public sector, the private agents are bound to face uncertainty with respect to their disposable incomes. To analyse effects of this uncertainty, a stochastic dynamic growth model with the public sector is examined. It is shown that deterministic excessive red tape and corruption deteriorate the growth potential through income redistribution and public sector inefficiencies. Most importantly, it is demonstrated that the increase in corruption via higher uncertainty exerts adverse effects on capital accumulation, thus leading to lower growth rates.

Justice, Gender, and International Boundaries

February 1989


26 Reads

Discussions of international and of gender justice both legitimately demand that principles of justice abstract from differences between cases and that judgements of justice respond to differences between them. Abstraction and sensitivity to context are often treated as incompatible: abstraction is taken to endorse idealized models of individual and state; sensitivity to human differences is identified with relativism. Neither identification is convincing: abstract principles do not entail uniform treatment; responsiveness to difference does not hinge on relativism. These points are used to criticize discussions of international and gender justice by liberals, communitarians and feminists. An alternative account of justice is sketched, which combines abstract principles with consideration of human differences in the application of principles. The case of poor women in impoverished economies – a hard case both for gender and for international justice – illustrates how universal, abstract principles of justice may not only permit but mandate differentiated application.

Table 2 Determinants of Turnout in the 1997 British General Election
Political Interest, Cognitive Ability and Personality: Determinants of Voter Turnout in Britain

April 2008


987 Reads

This paper provides a survey on studies that analyze the macroeconomic effects of intellectual property rights (IPR). The first part of this paper introduces different patent policy instruments and reviews their effects on R&D and economic growth. This part also discusses the distortionary effects and distributional consequences of IPR protection as well as empirical evidence on the effects of patent rights. Then, the second part considers the international aspects of IPR protection. In summary, this paper draws the following conclusions from the literature. Firstly, different patent policy instruments have different effects on R&D and growth. Secondly, there is empirical evidence supporting a positive relationship between IPR protection and innovation, but the evidence is stronger for developed countries than for developing countries. Thirdly, the optimal level of IPR protection should tradeoff the social benefits of enhanced innovation against the social costs of multiple distortions and income inequality. Finally, in an open economy, achieving the globally optimal level of protection requires an international coordination (rather than the harmonization) of IPR protection.

"Political Business Cycles and Russian Elections, or the Manipulations of Chudar"

March 1999


256 Reads

Political business cycle theories tend to focus on one policy instrument or macroeconomic lever at a time. Efforts to find empirical evidence of opportunistic business cycles have turned up rather meager results. We suggest that these facts may be related. If ways of manipulating the economy to win votes are thought of as substitutes, with changing relative costs, one would expect rational policy makers to switch between them in different periods as costs change. We illustrate this argument with a discussion of Russia. In Russia, four nationwide votes have been held since 1993. We deduce the set of policies that a rational, behind-the-scenes strategist--the "Chudar" of the title--would recommend to an incumbent who believes the voters to vote retrospectively. We show that the expectations are born out closely in the actual macroeconomic data.

Comment on ‘The Politics of the Political Business Cycle’

January 1998


25 Reads

Schultz argues that governments will have less incentive to manipulate the economy when they lead in the polls. He tests this model on UK data and finds some support for the hypothesis. However, there are theoretical reasons to expect that the relationship is an inverted ?U? or possibly some other non-linear relationship. Moreover, there is evidence of mispecification in Schultz?s model. In the event, Schultz?s results turn out to be broadly supported. However, there is an additional, strong non-linearity in operation. Secure governments do indeed hold back from manipulating the economy; but insecure governments pull out all the available stops to avoid defeat. This is inconsistent with a formal model of the process, but is consistent with a `panic struck' view of the electoral process.

Evolution of the Constitution

February 2000


3,032 Reads

An 'analytic narrative' is the presentation of crucial historical events, using the intuitions of rational choice theory, to clarify the motivations and beliefs of the principal actors. This article attempts to understand a dilemma embedded in the Declaration of Independence: the expected costs of war against Britain far exceeded any possible benefits, if these are construed simply as the removal of colonial taxation. Furthermore, war against Britain necessitated an alliance with a potential aggressive power, France. An analysis is presented indicating that the benefits also included the enormous reward of the west and the 'costs' incorporated possible future aggression by France and Spain. The narrative is extended to the Ratification of the Constitution in 1787, to suggest that the Federalists, and Madison, justifiably feared Spanish aggression in the Mississippi Valley. In the 1790s, consensus (about credible threats by the European powers) fragmented, and this led to entirely different policy preferences by Federalists and Jeffersonian Republicans. Napoleon's imperial intentions in Louisiana were, however, thwarted by the defeat of the French forces in Haiti in 1802-03. The result was the Louisiana Purchase of 1803-04. While the necessary causes of these various constitutional transformations can be appreciated, there appears to be an element of contingency, or happenstance, embedded in the sufficient Causes. The purpose of the exercise is to attempt to understand the possibly chaotic basis of rapid institutional change.

The Political Economy of Imperialism, Decolonization and Development

January 2010


352 Reads

Nations have historically sought power and prosperity through control of physical space. In recent decades, however, territorial empire has largely ceased. Most states that can take and hold territory no longer appear eager to do so, while the weak are unable to expand. Have powerful countries become 'kinder and gentler', or has something fundamental changed about the logic of empire? We offer a theory of imperialism and decolonization that explains both historic cycles of expansion and decline and the demise of the urge to colonize. Technological shocks enable expansion, while military technology gradually disseminates, diluting imperial advantage. At the same time, economic development has led to a secular decline in the payoffs for appropriating land, minerals, and reluctant labor. Once conquest no longer pays for great powers, the systemic imperative to vertically integrate production also becomes archaic.

Empirical Linkages Between Democracy and Economic Growth

July 1994


752 Reads

Using cross-sectional and pooled data for up to 125 countries over the period from 1960 to 1985, this paper evaluates the two-way linkages between democracy and economic growth. The effects of income on democracy are found to be robust and positive. The effects of several measures of democracy on growth are assessed in a comparative growth framework in which growth of per capita GDP depends negatively on initial income levels, as implied by the convergence hypothesis, and positively on rates of investment in physical and human capital. Adjusting for the simultaneous determination of income and democracy makes the estimated direct effect of democracy on subsequent economic growth negative but insignificant. Allowing for the possible positive indirect effect of democracy on income, flowing through the positive effect of democracy on education and investment, tends to offset the negative direct effect of democracy on economic growth. The general result of the growth analysis is that it is still not possible to identify any systematic net effects of democracy on subsequent economic growth.

Democratic Institutions and Economic Reform: The Polish Case

January 1998


16 Reads

Analysis of the economic transformation of the Polish economy and of the 1993 elections for Parliament suggest that it is possible to proceed with pro-market and democratic reforms simultaneously. As demonstrated by the Polish case, the key to this process is the rate at which new enterprises are created. These enterprises, not the privatization of existing ones, are responsible for the creation of a private economy. This evolving new economy based on firm creation and growth creates a pro-reform constituency in the regions where it is occurring. This constituency provides strong support for pro-reform parties. The Polish case also illustrates how electoral rules and their interaction with the evolution of pro-reform constituencies affect the representation of pro-reform interests. The Polish case offers important lessons about the reform process and about the way scholars conceptualize political-economic processes.

Testing Models of Distributive Politics Using Exit Polls to Measure Voter Preferences and Partisanship

November 2009


64 Reads

This paper tests various hypotheses about distributive politics by studying the distribution of federal spending across U.S. states over the period 1978-2002. We improve on previous work by using survey data to measure the share of voters in each state that are Democrats, Republicans, and independents, or liberals, conservatives and moderates. We find no evidence that the allocation of federal spending to the states is distorted by strategic manipulation to win electoral support. States with many swing voters are not advantaged compared to states with more loyal voters, nor do “battleground states” attract more federal funds. Moreover, we find that spending has little or no effect on voters’ choices, whereas partisanship and ideology have massive effects.

A New Approach for Modeling Strategic Voting in Multiparty Elections

November 1997


34 Reads

Whether voters vote strategically, using their vote to best further their interests, or vote sincerely, voting for their first choice among the alternatives, is a question of long-standing interest. We offer two innovations in searching for the answer to this question. First, we begin with a more consistent model of sincere voting in multiparty democratic systems than has been presented in the literature to date. Second, we incorporate new operationalizations of the objective potential for strategic behavior than have been used in the past. We offer a test of strategic voting in the 1987 British General Election based on the variance in strategic setting across constituencies in Britain. We allow voters to use available information in deciding whether or not to cast a strategic vote. We estimate a lower level of strategic voting than many other methods have estimated. We also demonstrate that the use of self-reported vote motivation causes errors in estimating the amount of strategic voting, and that this problem is exacerbated the further from the election the self-report is obtained.

Political Parties and Electoral Landscapes

November 1993


154 Reads

We study the relationship between voters' preferences and the composition of party platforms in two-party democratic elections with adaptive parties. In the model, a political party locally adapts a platform on an electoral landscape. The electoral landscape is determined by the preferences of voters and the opposition party's platform. We find that adaptive parties tend to adopt moderate platforms regrdless of voters' preference. We explore how, by varying the distribution of voters' preferences, we can alter the landscape's ruggedness. Greater ruggedness lessens a party's ability to respond to voters' preferences. In other words, landscape ruggedness tempers the responsiveness of parties.

The Paradoxes of the Liberal Ethics of Non-interference

January 2009


179 Reads

We analyse the liberal ethics of non-interference applied to social choice. Two liberal principles capturing non-interfering views of society, inspired by J.S. Mill's conception of liberty are examined, which capture the idea that society should not penalise agents after changes in their situation that do not affect others. Two paradoxes of liberal approaches are highlighted. First, it is shown that a restricted view of non-interference, as reflected in the Individual Damage Principle, together with some standard axioms in social choice leads straight to welfare egalitarianism. Second, it is proved that every weakly paretian social welfare ordering that satisfies a general principle of noninterference must be dictatorial. Both paradoxes raise important issues for liberal approaches in social choice and political philosophy.

Figure 1: An overview of potential biases  
Table 1
Table 3 : Job Satisfaction Equations of ESC and GSS with and without mastery scale
How's Your Government? International Evidence Linking Good Government and Well-Being

February 2006


1,134 Reads

In this paper we employ World Values Survey measures of life satisfaction as though they were direct measures of utility, and use them to evaluate alternative features and forms of government in large international samples. We find that life satisfaction is more closely linked to several World Bank measures of the quality of government than to real per capita incomes, in simple correlations and more fully specified models explaining international differences in life satisfaction. We test for differences in the relative importance of different aspects of good government, and find a hierarchy of preferences that depends on the level of development. The ability of governments to provide a trustworthy environment, and to deliver services honestly and efficiently, appears to be of paramount importance for countries with worse governance and lower incomes. The balance changes once acceptable levels of efficiency, trust and incomes are achieved, when more value is attached to building and maintaining the institutions of electoral democracy.

Table 1 : The diffusion of preferential trade agreements
Figure 2: The spatial weight for the dyad Chile-U.S. (schematic representation)
The New Regionalism and Policy Interdependence

January 2010


352 Reads

Since 1990 the number of preferential trade agreements has increased rapidly. Our argument explains this phenomenon, known as the new regionalism, as a result of competition for market access. Exporters that face trade diversion because of their exclusion from a preferential trade agreement concluded by foreign countries push their governments into signing an agreement with the country in which their exports are threatened. We test our argument in a quantitative analysis of the proliferation of preferential trade agreements among 167 countries between 1990 and 2007. The finding that competition for market access is a major driving force of the new regionalism is a contribution to the literature on regionalism and to broader debates about global economic regulation.

Varieties of Capitalism and Institutional Complementarities in the Political Economy: An Empirical Analysis

November 2001


3,616 Reads

this paper is to address these problems, by devising indicators for the central concepts of the varieties of capitalism approach and subjecting its core contentions to aggregate empirical tests. We begin by developing indices to measure the balance between market-oriented and strategic coordination in the political economy. We then assess the core postulates of the theory about institutional complementarities in the macroeconomy, devising further measures for this purpose. Finally, we examine patterns of political adjustment and institutional change in order to assess the durability of the national distinctions identified by this approach. Before considering its specific propositions, we open with an overview of the varieties-of-capitalism perspective

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