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Policy with or without parties? A comparative analysis of policy priorities and policy change in Belgium, 1991 to 2000

Authors
Walgrave, Stefaan
Published in Journal of European Public Policy. 2006, vol. 13, no. 7, p. 1021-1038
Abstract This paper confronts two models of policy: the party model states that policy-making is an orderly process initiated by parties implementing their party programme and carrying out their electoral promises; the external pressure model contends that policy change is a non-orderly process but rather a disjoint process coming in large bursts that are difficult to predict. Drawing upon eight policy agendas in Belgium covering the period from 1991 to 2000 we put both models to the test. Policy measures are operationalized via the budget and legislation. We found that budgets are as good as disconnected from any other policy agenda in Belgium. Legislation and the evolving legislative attention for issues in Belgium can be traced back to some extent to parties and external pressure at the same time. In terms of static policy priorities, we found that the party model indicators, party programmes and government agreements, are fairly good predictors of the legislative attention an issue will receive during the governmental term. Regarding dynamic policy change from year to year, we found that the external pressure indicators – parliamentary pressure, media coverage and street protest – performed much better and were able to grasp some variance in issue emphasis in legislation.
Keywords BudgetingLegislationParty competitionParty manifestosPolicy punctuations
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WALGRAVE, Stefaan, VARONE, Frédéric, DUMONT, Patrick. Policy with or without parties? A comparative analysis of policy priorities and policy change in Belgium, 1991 to 2000. In: Journal of European Public Policy, 2006, vol. 13, n° 7, p. 1021-1038. https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:40108

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Deposited on : 2014-09-10

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