Political Institutions, State Capabilities and Public Policy: International Evidence
Dec 2008
This paper introduces preliminary evidence from a cross-country database of policy characteristics and potential uses of that database. While most databases have emphasized either the content of policies (e.g., size of government deficits) or countries formal institutions (e.g., political regime, electoral system), the variables in this database reflect the policymaking capabilities of different polities. The paper attempts to explain these policy characteristics as depending on the workings of political institutions, using a logic emphasizing intertemporal political compromise. The paper also contrasts this logic with alternatives such as the veto players approach. The paper concludes by suggesting the use of these policy characteristics or state capabilities as explanatory variables for the effectiveness of public spending in various social areas.