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From preferences to policy

Turnout, accountability and policy responsiveness in Dutch local government
PhD ceremony:H.L. Rienks
When:December 08, 2022
Start:16:15
Supervisor:prof. dr. M.A. (Maarten) Allers
Co-supervisor:dr. R.M. (Richard) Jong A Pin
Where:Academy building RUG
Faculty:Economics and Business

Can citizens influence public policy through voting? This dissertation investigates all three steps in the causal chain that are necessary for policy responsiveness, being voter turnout, voting, and policy. It investigates this for municipal governments in the Netherlands. This dissertation is built on 5 novel research projects. Among others, it shows that voters in local elections in the Netherlands do keep parties accountable. This indicates that Dutch local elections are competitive which is favorable for policy responsiveness. However, it also shows that changes in the party composition of the municipal government do not lead to changes in local taxes. This indicates the opposite, namely that Dutch local elections do not lead to policy responsiveness. It also raises questions about policy responsiveness in other democratic countries: Since if even Dutch local elections do not lead to policy responsiveness, which elections do?