Mandates, Pledge fulfillment and Representation in France and Germany

Mandates, Pledge fulfillment and Representation in France and Germany

Deutsch-Französischer Diskurs mit

Dr. Isabelle Guinaudeau (Sciences Po Paris)

Zeit: 21. November 2023, 16.00 Uhr

Ort: Universität des Saarlandes, Campus B3 2, Hörsaal 0.03

Gastgeber: Prof. Dr. Georg Wenzelburger (Politikwissenschaft)

Vortrag in englischer Sprache

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Programs are subject to huge normative expectations. Yet, the pledge, the public policy and the lay perspective deliver contrasting conclusions as to mandates' effective policymaking impact. How does such a mismatch come between pledge fulfilment and its public perception? Is a high rate of pledge fulfilment compatible with a poor contribution to political representation? These questions point to the need for a deeper understanding of pledges and their relevance to policy, and of the conditions under which this link varies. This book is an effort to think these issues through. It is a study of the extent to which promises made in campaigns shape public policy and representation. I contend that taking into account elections’ pledges unequal effects on representation allows to unravel the contradictions between the pledge, the public policy and the lay perspective. The core argument is that pledges-to-policy linkages vary crucially depending on the characteristics of pledges’ target groups. Groups’ unequal ability to attract pledges and to obtain their fulfilment shapes the nexus between electoral promises and public policy. Strong programme-to-policy linkages exist mainly in areas with powerful stakeholders socially perceived to be deserving. They are weak otherwise, explaining citizens' distrust. Elected executives use ambiguity in the interpretation of pledges to address groups with incongruent levels of power and deservingness - and handle related tensions between constraints in the policymaking arena and incentives in the electoral arena. The book tests these arguments based on an encompassing set of large-N and qualitative data on the pledges of French executives since 1995. The presentation will also cover two comparative projects focused on France and Germany, funded by the French and German research agencies and run with Elisa Deiss-Helbig and Theres Matthiess. In addition to extending the analysis to a contrasted political setting, these programmes investigate citizens' perceptions of and responses to mandate representation.