Politics and Pledge Fulfillment. A Mixed-methods Analysis of French Electoral Pledges

13.05.2019 - 12:00 to 13:30
Location : 
A 5,6 Raum A 231
Type of Event : 
AB B-Kolloquium
Dr. Isabelle Guinaudeau
Lecturer affiliation: 
Sciences Po Bordeaux

The PARTIPOL project, funded by the French Research Agency, explores the factors and mechanisms at play in the fulfillment of electoral pledges – a key factor in representative governments’ legitimacy. After reviewing the current literature, the project’s conditional model of pledge fulfillment will be introduced. While the literature has so far focused on institutional capacity, we argue that understanding which pledges are implemented requires to account not only for capacity, but also for governmental incentives. Combining electoral studies and public policy analysis allow us to better understand how pledge fulfillment is conditioned by the executive’s capacity and motivations. Our hypotheses are first explored using a quantitative analysis of the fulfillment of French electoral pledges (1995-2017). This preliminary analysis is completed by qualitative case studies of deviant cases – pledges fulfilled despite unfavorable conditions, and pledges not respected despite favorable conditions. Two main conclusions emerge: (1) governments’ incentives to keep the word are largely determined by the characteristics of the publics targeted by electoral pledges; (2) government capacity is multidimensional, with an institutional, an operational and a political dimension. When incentives are sufficiently strong, governments are able to convert political resources into additional room for manoeuver. Next steps include coding the variables that have emerged from the qualitative analysis at a large-N scale and developing an international comparison.