Master of International Affairs   Master of Public Policy  

From preferences to policy: Understanding and measuring positions of voters, parties and legislators

The course focuses on the comparative analysis of political preferences and positions of voters, parties and legislators over time and across countries. We analyse issue attention and positions on issues such as European integration, environmental policy, trade liberalisation or morality policies, as well as latent dimensions (e.g., left-right) that structure political competition. The course is divided into three sections: Firstly, we consider public opinion and voter preferences; secondly, we study party positions; thirdly, we focus on legislator positions. Each part introduces and critically evaluates different data source measuring positions, based, for example, on surveys, party manifestos or voting behaviour. We will work with the data in class, putting it into perspective and testing insights from the literature while drawing on examples from different countries across the globe. The course investigates how preferences at the different levels can be explained and how they are linked. In this process we will explore how representation, responsiveness and accountability, as well as party competition, shape the translation of public preferences into policy output.

This course is for 2nd year MIA and MPP students only.