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The policy mood in Spain: The thermostat in a warm climate, 1978-2017

Bartle, John and Bosch, Agusti and Orriols, Lluis (2020) 'The policy mood in Spain: The thermostat in a warm climate, 1978-2017.' European Political Science Review, 12 (2). pp. 133-153. ISSN 1755-7739

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Representative democracies are supposed to be uniquely virtuous in that they ensure that public preferences drive public policy. Dynamic representation is the outcome of a recurring interaction between electorate and parties that can be observed at the macrolevel. Preferences can shape government policy via two possible mechanisms. ‘Policy accommodation’ suggests that governments respond directly to the electorate’s preferences. ‘Electoral turnover’, on the other hand, assumes that preferences shape policy indirectly. Parties pursue their ideological goals, public preferences respond ‘thermostatically’ by moving in the opposite direction to policy. This causes voters to switch votes and eventually leads to a turnover of power from one ‘side’ to ‘the other’. In this paper we estimate preferences for government activity (‘the policy mood’) in Spain between 1978 and 2017. We show that mood responds ‘thermostatically’ to policy. Variations in mood are associated with support for parties. Policy is driven by party control but is not thermostatically responsive to mood. It appears that in Spain – like Britain – dynamic representation can only be achieved by electoral turnover. We consider the implications of this for our understanding of how representation works

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: dynamic representation; policy mood; Spain; elections; thermostatic model; macro polity
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2020 17:52
Last Modified: 06 Jan 2022 14:09

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