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Is a promise a promise? Election pledge fulfilment in comparative perspective using Sweden as an example

Journal article
Authors Elin Naurin
Published in West European Politics
Volume 37
Issue 5
Pages 1046-1064
ISSN 0140-2382
Publication year 2014
Published at Department of Political Science
Pages 1046-1064
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1080/01402382.2013.86...
Subject categories Political Science, Political Science (excluding Public Administration Studies and Globalization Studies)

Abstract

The link between parties’ campaign messages and government action is essential to theories of representative democracy. This article offers the first evaluation of how different empirical approaches alter results regarding the fulfilment of mandates by governments. Three commonly used operationalisations of the notion of election promise are applied to the case of Sweden. The conclusion is that results are not significantly altered depending on the approach that is taken. By studying only certain subsets of promises in election manifestos, overall government fulfilment of election promises can be estimated. By performing the analyses on the case of Sweden, the study also gives focus to two cabinet formations that have received little scholarly attention but are common in the European context – namely minority single-party cabinets and coalitions formed pre-election. The article argues that such cabinet situations are particularly efficient when it comes to election pledge fulfilment, no matter how the notion of election promise is defined.

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