Party Mandates and Democracy

Making, Breaking, and Keeping Election Pledges in Twelve Countries
Elin Naurin, Terry J. Royed, and Robert Thomson, Editors
Contrary to public opinion, election promises are usually fulfilled


When people discuss politics, they often mention the promises politicians make during election campaigns. Promises raise hopes that positive policy changes are possible, but people are generally skeptical of these promises. Party Mandates and Democracy reveals the extent to and conditions under which governments fulfill party promises during election campaigns. Contrary to conventional wisdom a majority of pledges—sometimes a large majority—are acted upon in most countries, most of the time. 

The fulfillment of parties’ election pledges is an essential part of the democratic process. This book is the first major, genuinely comparative study of promises across a broad range of countries and elections, including the United States, Canada, nine Western European countries, and Bulgaria. The book thus adds to the body of literature on the variety of outcomes stemming from alternative democratic institutions. 

“This is an important endeavor and contributes to our understanding of an important aspect of parties as organizations—the production and fulfillment of policy pledges. Combining both cross-national and case study analyses offers the reader both a more general understanding of these topics as well as a more specific understanding of the nuances of the individual cases.”
—Jae-Jae Spoon, University of Pittsburgh

“This book presents the first comparative analysis of the fulfillment of election pledges across 12 countries in Europe and North America.  It is the result of an ambitious and rigorous data collection effort and presents much needed data on the fulfillment of promises made by politicians during election campaigns. This book will be without doubt the key reference and major data source for the study of pledge fulfillment in the future and deserves a place in any political science library.”
—Heike Klüver, Humboldt University of Berlin
“This very important book makes major contributions to a topic at the very heart of contemporary democracy: whether and under what circumstances parties keep their campaign promises. Original and rigorous analyses of the outcomes of 20,000 pledges, as well as explications in 12 countries, take us a huge step forward.”
—G. Bingham Powell, Jr. University of Rochester
Elin Naurin is Professor of Political Science at the University of Gothenburg.
Terry J. Royed is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Alabama.
Robert Thomson is Professor of Political Science at Monash University, Melbourne.

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Product Details

  • 368 pages.
  • 11 charts, 28 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

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  • 2019
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-12467-1

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  • Election promises; Electoral pledges; campaigns; Representative; democracy; Political parties; Program-to-policy-linkage; Mandates; Policy-making; Government capacity; Comparative Party Pledges Project; Do parties fulfill their election pledges; United Kindom; UK; United States; US; Canada; Spain; Portugal; Sweden; Ireland; Italy; Germany; Austria; Netherlands; Bulgaria