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Veto player theory and reform making in Western Europe

Angelova, Mariyana; Bäck, Hanna LU ; Müller, Wolfgang C. and Strobl, Daniel (2017) In European Journal of Political Research
Abstract

Veto player theory generates predictions about governments' capacity for policy change. Due to the difficulty of identifying significant laws needed to change the policy status quo, evidence about governments' ability to change policy has been mostly provided for a limited number of reforms and single-country studies. To evaluate the predictive power of veto player theory for policy making across time, policy areas and countries, a dataset was gathered that incorporates about 5,600 important government reform measures in the areas of social, labour, economic and taxation policy undertaken in 13 Western European countries from the mid-1980s until the mid-2000s. Veto player theory is applied in a combined model with other central... (More)

Veto player theory generates predictions about governments' capacity for policy change. Due to the difficulty of identifying significant laws needed to change the policy status quo, evidence about governments' ability to change policy has been mostly provided for a limited number of reforms and single-country studies. To evaluate the predictive power of veto player theory for policy making across time, policy areas and countries, a dataset was gathered that incorporates about 5,600 important government reform measures in the areas of social, labour, economic and taxation policy undertaken in 13 Western European countries from the mid-1980s until the mid-2000s. Veto player theory is applied in a combined model with other central theoretical expectations on policy change derived from political economy (crisis-driven policy change) and partisan theory (ideology-driven policy change). Robust support is found that governments introduce more reform measures when economic conditions are poor and when the government is positioned further away from the policy status quo. No empirical support is found for predictions of veto player theory in its pure form, where no differentiation between government types is made. However, the findings provide support for the veto player theory in the special case of minimal winning cabinets, where the support of all government parties is sufficient (in contrast to minority cabinets) and necessary (in contrast to oversized cabinets) for policy change. In particular, it is found that in minimal winning cabinets the ideological distance between the extreme government parties significantly decreases the government's ability to introduce reforms. These findings improve our understanding of reform making in parliamentary democracies and highlight important issues and open questions for future applications and tests of the veto player theory.

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Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
epub
subject
keywords
Policy output, Reform making, Veto players, Western Europe
in
European Journal of Political Research
publisher
Kluwer
external identifiers
  • scopus:85026301034
ISSN
0304-4130
DOI
10.1111/1475-6765.12226
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
100f4810-4326-42d6-b161-4b8f87782c2a
date added to LUP
2017-09-01 13:21:25
date last changed
2018-01-07 12:17:05
@article{100f4810-4326-42d6-b161-4b8f87782c2a,
  abstract     = {<p>Veto player theory generates predictions about governments' capacity for policy change. Due to the difficulty of identifying significant laws needed to change the policy status quo, evidence about governments' ability to change policy has been mostly provided for a limited number of reforms and single-country studies. To evaluate the predictive power of veto player theory for policy making across time, policy areas and countries, a dataset was gathered that incorporates about 5,600 important government reform measures in the areas of social, labour, economic and taxation policy undertaken in 13 Western European countries from the mid-1980s until the mid-2000s. Veto player theory is applied in a combined model with other central theoretical expectations on policy change derived from political economy (crisis-driven policy change) and partisan theory (ideology-driven policy change). Robust support is found that governments introduce more reform measures when economic conditions are poor and when the government is positioned further away from the policy status quo. No empirical support is found for predictions of veto player theory in its pure form, where no differentiation between government types is made. However, the findings provide support for the veto player theory in the special case of minimal winning cabinets, where the support of all government parties is sufficient (in contrast to minority cabinets) and necessary (in contrast to oversized cabinets) for policy change. In particular, it is found that in minimal winning cabinets the ideological distance between the extreme government parties significantly decreases the government's ability to introduce reforms. These findings improve our understanding of reform making in parliamentary democracies and highlight important issues and open questions for future applications and tests of the veto player theory.</p>},
  author       = {Angelova, Mariyana and Bäck, Hanna and Müller, Wolfgang C. and Strobl, Daniel},
  issn         = {0304-4130},
  keyword      = {Policy output,Reform making,Veto players,Western Europe},
  language     = {eng},
  publisher    = {Kluwer},
  series       = {European Journal of Political Research},
  title        = {Veto player theory and reform making in Western Europe},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1475-6765.12226},
  year         = {2017},
}