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The European Union is a key player in determining policies and politics in Europe, and yet understanding how it works remains a challenge. The Politics of the European Union introduces students to its functioning by showing the similarities and differences between the EU and national political systems. Fully revised and updated in its third edition, this introductory textbook uses the tools of comparative politics to explore the history, theories, institutions, key actors, politics and policy-making of the EU. This comparative approach enables students to apply their knowledge of domestic politics and broader debates in political science to better understand the EU. Numerous real-world examples guide students through the textbook, and chapter briefings, fact files and controversy boxes highlight the important and controversial issues in EU politics. A companion website features free 'Navigating the EU' exercises to guide students in their analysis of EU policy-making.
Most literature finds a detrimental effect of amalgamation on voter turnout in municipal elections. Some other studies reveal instead null or even positive effects. We argue that this inconsistency derives from the fact that previous research has only analysed the amalgamation/turnout relation in single case studies. The contribution of this article is therefore twofold. First, it proposes a unified framework to investigate the amalgamation/turnout relation in comparative perspective, which clarifies the shortcut between size and amalgamation, disentangles the multifaced nature of municipal amalgamation, and outlines clear testable hypotheses related to its implementation – both at the national and at the local level. Secondly, it provides an original 10-European-country dataset of municipal amalgamations in the last decades (comprising Albania, Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, and Norway) to empirically verify such hypotheses concerning the effects of the amalgamation features on voter turnout. Our study crucially reveals the relevance of the characteristics of the amalgamation process. When the amalgamation is imposed by the national government, turnout is particularly low, similarly to when the amalgamation occurs independently from a wide reform scheme. On the other hand, municipal turnout after amalgamation is higher when a larger number of municipalities are merged and when the amalgamated municipalities had a similar population before being merged. Moreover, our empirical evidence confirms the importance of traditional second-order predictors of turnout in municipal elections, even with specific reference to the post-amalgamation elections. Conversely, in such elections, the overall size of the (final) municipality is not a significant predictor of voter turnout.
We study the drivers of refugees' decision making about returning home using observational and experimental data from a survey of 3,003 Syrian refugees in Lebanon. We find that the conditions in refugee-hosting countries play a minor role. In contrast, conditions in a refugee's home country are the main drivers of return intentions. Even in the face of hostility and poor living conditions in host countries, refugees are unlikely to return unless the situation at home improves significantly. These results challenge traditional models of decision making about migration, where refugees weigh living conditions in the host and home countries (“push” and “pull” factors). We offer an alternative theoretical framework: a model of threshold-based decision making whereby only once a basic threshold of safety at home is met do refugees compare other factors in the host and home country. We explore some empirical implications of this new perspective using qualitative interviews and quantitative survey data.
This Element analyzes the economic and political forces behind the political marginalization of working-class organizations in the region. It traces the roots of labor exclusion to the geopolitics of the early postwar period when many governments rolled back the left and established labor control regimes that prevented the reemergence of working-class movements. This Element also examines the economic and political dynamics that perpetuated labor's containment in some countries and that produced a resurgence of labor mobilization in others in the 21st century. It also explains why democratization has had mixed effects on organized labor in the region and analyzes three distinctive “anatomies of contention” of Southeast Asia's feistiest labor movements in Cambodia, Indonesia, and Vietnam.
Chapter 1 introduces the central puzzle of implementing primary education in northern India, a least likely setting for programmatic service delivery. Despite having the same formal institutions and national policy framework for primary education, implementation varies remarkably across northern Indian states. After reviewing existing explanations, the chapter outlines the main argument, anchored around variation in informal bureaucratic norms, and foreshadows the theoretical contributions to comparative politics and development. It then presents the research design and methods, based on multilevel comparisons in four Indian states (Uttar Pradesh, Himachal Pradesh, Uttarakhand and Bihar). Using multiple field research methods, I trace the implementation process from state capitals down to the village primary schools, drawing on two and a half years of field research: participant observation inside bureaucracies; village ethnography; and 853 interviews and 103 focus group discussions. I conclude with an overview of the book’s remaining chapters.
Chapter 9 concludes the book by outlining its contributions to scholarship in comparative politics, development and public administration. The theoretical framework centered on bureaucratic norms brings institutionalist perspectives on the state and social policy together with insights on street-level bureaucracy and local collective action. The conceptual interweaving of meso-level state institutions with the micro-politics of frontline service delivery gives rise to a new understanding of bureaucracy and its relationship to human development. The chapter also explores the study's policy implications for the reform of bureaucracy, public services and primary education in developing countries.
Chapter 2 presents the book’s theory connecting differences in bureaucratic norms to variation in the implementation of primary schooling. I first define implementation and operationalize it for the primary education domain. I then present comparative education indicators, showcasing differences in performance across four Indian states. Next, I develop a theory anchored around the ideal types of legalistic and deliberative bureaucracy. I argue that deliberative bureaucracies, which promote flexibility and problem-solving, are more effective since they can adapt policies to local needs and activate participation from marginalized communities. By contrast, legalistic states, which adhere strictly to rules and procedures, implement policies unevenly and tend to benefit privileged groups in society, weakening the engagement of poor communities. I elucidate two mechanisms: collective understanding and behavior of state officials, and societal feedback, which together yield varied mentation patterns and outcomes. I explore the political origins behind the differences in bureaucratic norms. I scope conditions of my theory and contrast it with alternative political explanations for the implementation of public services.
Economic and health crises have profound political consequences for public support for social policy, historically setting in motion a massive expansion of governmental programs. Is demand for social protection likely to increase among citizens exposed to risk in an era in which populist messages are prominent? We show that this depends critically on the precise targets that populists evoke as enemies of the people. We distinguish between two types of political rhetoric deployed by populist politicians in their claims to represent the authentic people—one opposing the authority of domestic elites, including technocrats, and one attacking foreigners. We examine the extent to which each rhetorical strategy reduces or enhances popular demand for social policies by randomly exposing Americans to these frames as part of a public opinion survey conducted during the Covid-19 pandemic. Our results show that the two messages have different consequences for support for redistribution among respondents exposed to risk: populist anti-foreign rhetoric that blames foreign countries for the onset of the pandemic increases demand for expansion of social protection compared to populist anti-elite rhetoric.
What makes bureaucracy work for the least advantaged? Across the world, countries have adopted policies for universal primary education. Yet, policy implementation is uneven and not well understood. Making Bureaucracy Work investigates when and how public agencies deliver primary education across rural India. Through a multi-level comparative analysis and more than two years of ethnographic field research, Mangla opens the 'black box' of Indian bureaucracy to demonstrate how differences in bureaucratic norms - informal rules that guide public officials and their everyday relations with citizens - generate divergent implementation patterns and outcomes. While some public agencies operate in a legalistic manner and promote compliance with policy rules, others engage in deliberation and encourage flexible problem-solving with local communities, thereby enhancing the quality of education services. This book reveals the complex ways bureaucratic norms interact with socioeconomic inequalities on the ground, illuminating the possibilities and obstacles for bureaucracy to promote inclusive development.
There is a continuing debate over the political importance and durability of partisan attachments in European multi-party systems. Drawing on a nationally representative five-wave panel, we provide a longitudinal test of the power of partisanship in Italy over the course of the tumultuous 2013 national elections. We find that a strong partisan affiliation measured as a social identity two years prior to the election promoted system stability by increasing support for the in-party and inhibiting electoral support for the insurgent Five Star Movement (M5S). In contrast, non-partisans, especially highly educated ones, were more likely than partisans to vote for M5S. Our results illustrate the role of partisanship in stabilizing multi-party systems amid crisis.
Research in legislative politics suggests that the desire to get reelected encourages legislators to “bring home the pork”—by delivering electorally rewarding, targeted spending. This is particularly true where the electoral system encourages incumbents to cultivate a personal vote. We analyze how Philippine Senators spend their Constituency Development Fund (CDF) and using the staggered elections to identify variation in reelection status, we show that senatorial reelectionists do not always bring home the pork. Because Philippine Senators are elected by plurality-at-large voting by the national electorate, they tend to spend their CDF allotments closer to elections but avoid allocating them disproportionately to their local strongholds. These findings illustrate how electoral rules can deter targeted spending but lead legislators to find alternative ways to build a personal vote.
Sleep research presents an important frontier of discovery for political science. While sleep has largely been neglected by political scientists, human psychology is inextricably linked with sleep and so political cognition must be as well. Existing work shows that sleep is linked to political participation and ideology, and that contentious politics can disrupt sleep. I propose three directions for future research—on participatory democracy, on ideology, and on how context shapes sleep-politics links. I also note that sleep research intersects with the study of political institutions, of war and conflict, of elite decision-making, and of normative theory. In short, political scientists across subfields can and should consider whether and how sleep influences political life in their area of expertise and how to influence relevant policies. This new research agenda will enrich our theories of politics and enable us to identify pressing areas for policy interventions to revitalize our democracy.
This chapter shows how the paternalist policy style impacts social policy implementation at the provincial level and below. The top-down approach in paternalist provinces produces relatively standardized social policy but reduces opportunities for officials to innovate and tailor policies to local conditions. Fiscal transfers from the center often foster corruption and dependency in these provinces. Thus, many paternalist provinces have experienced rising inequality despite targeted policies and transfers. While focusing on health policy in paternalist provinces, this chapter also discusses the impact of paternalism on education, poverty alleviation, and housing.
Mixed provinces exhibit elements of pragmatism in addition to elements of paternalism. They tend to be more politically open than paternalist provinces but more restrictive than their pragmatist counterparts. This combination produces a policy style in which provincial leaders take a top-down approach to policymaking and standardize new policies across the province yet tend to be relatively frugal in their social policy allocations both in relative and per capita spending. In some cases, mixed provinces are caught in the middle: they do not generate as much revenue as coastal provinces, but they are not poor enough to be eligible for certain fiscal transfers from the central government. As a result, the budget for social policy in these provinces is often among the smallest in the country. This chapter focuses on health policy in mixed provinces, while also discussing the impact of a mixed policy style on education, poverty alleviation, and housing.
Due to uneven economic reforms, Chinese provinces developed distinct approaches to governing that shaped social policy priorities and policy implementation in the 2000s. This chapter presents the book’s argument in the context of research on social policy and Chinese politics. The chapter synthesizes previous research on the welfare state in developing countries, social policy in China, and decentralization in Chinese politics. The chapter also explains the book’s theoretical framework of policy styles. The chapter concludes by discussing research methods and the structure of the book.
The conclusion recapitulates the book’s argument that Chinese provinces take different approaches to governing, which have impacted social policy implementation. This chapter discusses how recentralization under Xi Jinping may interact with local approaches to governing. The chapter also examines how policy style may have exacerbated local actors’ initial response to the novel coronavirus in 2019. The chapter concludes by discussing how the policy-style framework could be applied to subnational analysis beyond China and the broader implications of the argument.
Local government in China is largely responsible for funding social policy and has significant control over the specifics of program design and implementation. Therefore, the same policy can look quite different across provinces and even across counties within the same province. What accounts for local variation in social policy provision? This chapter provides a framework of provincial policy styles and demonstrates how these distinct ways of governing help explain variation in social policy implementation. First, the chapter presents an index of policy styles to classify Chinese provinces based on their dominant policy style: pragmatist, paternalist, or mixed. Then, the chapter examines how provinces diverge in their social policy priorities using provincial social policy spending to measure social policy priorities. The analysis finds that pragmatist provinces are more likely to prioritize education and healthcare, while paternalist provinces are more likely to prioritize poverty alleviation and housing.
This chapter shows how pragmatist provinces shape social policy provision through the devolution of responsibility to local government. Pragmatist provinces have followed Deng Xiaoping’s “do what works” approach to the policy process. Despite the risks within an authoritarian system, officials in pragmatist provinces are more likely to experiment and innovate. These provinces devolve more responsibility to their localities, which offers opportunities for local officials to learn new skills and develop capacity in new areas. However, as they are generally wealthier, pragmatist provinces receive fewer fiscal transfers from the center for social policy. Therefore, they sometimes drag their feet in implementing unfunded mandates that do not coincide with their provincial priorities. While focusing on health policy in pragmatist provinces, this chapter also discusses the impact of pragmatism on education, poverty alleviation, and housing.
This article assesses Moldova’s political evolution during its first 25 years of independence. It argues that while the country has gone through 3 very distinct periods of governance during that time, the underlying conditions that have hobbled efforts to establish a stable democratic regime remained consistent. These included the country’s precarious location in the international system, weak institutions and the rule of law, and a deep cleavage regarding national identity. Consequently, the country settled into a pattern of systemic corruption and, at best, a deeply flawed form of democracy. By the end of this period, Moldovans faced the task of mounting a renewed effort to regain control over their political institutions.
Due to uneven economic reforms, Chinese provinces have developed distinct approaches to governing that impact social policy priorities and policy implementation. Ratigan shows how coastal provinces tended to prioritize health and education, and developed a pragmatic policy style, which fostered innovation and professionalism in policy implementation. Meanwhile, inland provinces tended to prioritize targeted poverty alleviation and affordable housing, while taking a paternalist, top-down approach to implementation. This book provides a quantitative analysis of provincial social policy spending in the 2000s and qualitative case studies of provinces with divergent approaches to social policy. It highlights healthcare, but also draws on illustrative examples from poverty alleviation, education, and housing policy. By showing the importance of local actors in shaping social policy implementation, this book will appeal to scholars and advanced students of Chinese politics, comparative welfare studies, and comparative politics.