13 Apr 2023 - 14 Apr 2023All dayAlison Richard Building, 7 West Road, Cambridge, CB3 9DT

Description

Convenor

Peter Sloman (University of Cambridge)

Speakers

Speaker details to follow

Summary

Tax and public spending are central to party competition in many countries and lie at the heart of the classic Downsian model of electoral choice, in which voters seek to maximise their expected utility through a rational evaluation of party programmes. Since the 1980s and 1990s, political parties in the UK and other major democracies have frequently published costings documents alongside their manifestos, and Parliamentary Budget Offices and think-tanks have taken on an increasingly prominent role in analysing party policies. The ‘Chartered Choices’ exercise carried out by the Centraal Planbureau in the Netherlands has been perhaps the most ambitious attempt to integrate economic analysis into the electoral process.

This workshop will bring together political scientists, economists, and contemporary historians to explore how public debates over tax, spending, and borrowing have played out in different electoral contexts since the 1980s. By ranging across disciplinary boundaries and national borders, we hope to map the ‘state of the field’ and to strengthen our understanding of how parties think about tax and spending commitments in the real world. We invite country-specific or comparative papers which discuss the implications of platform costings for party strategy, voting behaviour, democratic theory, or public policy.

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Programme

Call for papers

Tax and public spending are central to party competition in many countries, and lie at the heart of the classic Downsian model of electoral choice, in which voters seek to maximise their expected utility through a rational evaluation of party programmes. Since the 1980s and 1990s, political parties in the UK and other major democracies have frequently published costings documents alongside their manifestos, and Parliamentary Budget Offices and think-tanks have taken on an increasingly prominent role in analysing party policies. The ‘Chartered Choices’ exercise carried out by the Centraal Planbureau in the Netherlands has been perhaps the most ambitious attempt to integrate economic analysis into the electoral process.

This workshop will bring together political scientists, economists, and contemporary historians to explore how public debates over tax, spending, and borrowing have played out in different electoral contexts since the 1980s. By ranging across disciplinary boundaries and national borders, we hope to map the ‘state of the field’ and to strengthen our understanding of how parties think about tax and spending commitments in the real world. We invite country-specific or comparative papers which discuss the implications of platform costings for party strategy, voting behaviour, democratic theory, or public policy.

The workshop will be held across two days, 20-21 April 2023, with an in-person event at the University of Cambridge and an online participation option via Zoom. We have space for ten papers, and are keen to draw on a wide range of cases (including from the global South) and disciplinary perspectives. Pre-circulation of written papers in advance of the workshop is encouraged, in order to facilitate a high-quality discussion. We hope to publish many of the papers as a special issue or special section in a Politics journal.

Proposals should be submitted by email to Dr Peter Sloman (pjs93@cam.ac.uk) by 22 September 2022. Please include an abstract of up to 250 words and a short biography.

Paper-givers will be notified by mid-October 2022.

A small number of places will also be made available for general registration in early 2023.

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