BA_BJPOLS_2017_manuscript.pdf (497.83 kB)
Does Government Support Respond to Governments' Social Welfare Rhetoric or their Spending? An Analysis of Government Support in Britain, Spain, and the United States
journal contributionposted on 2017-03-20, 12:48 authored by Luca Bernardi, James Adams
Issue ownership theory posits that when social welfare is electorally salient, left-wing parties gain public support by rhetorically emphasizing social welfare issues. There is less research, however, on whether left-wing governing parties benefit from increasing social welfare spending, i.e., we do not know whether leftist governments gain from acting on the issues they rhetorically emphasize. We present arguments that voters will not react to governments’ social welfare rhetoric, and we also review the conflicting arguments about how government support responds to social welfare spending. We then report time-series, cross-sectional analyses of data on government support, governments’ social welfare rhetoric and social welfare spending from Britain, Spain, and the United States, that support our prediction of no effects from government rhetoric. We estimate, however, that increased social welfare spending sharply depresses support for both leftand right-wing governments. Our findings identify a strategic dilemma for left-wing governments, who lose public support when they act on their social welfare rhetoric by actually increasing welfare spending.
CitationBritish Journal of Political Science, 2017
Author affiliation/Organisation/COLLEGE OF SOCIAL SCIENCES, ARTS AND HUMANITIES/Department of Politics and International Relations
- AM (Accepted Manuscript)