1st Edition

A Unified Introduction to How Democracy Works

ISBN 9780367025090
Published May 29, 2019 by Routledge
476 Pages 40 B/W Illustrations

USD $44.95

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Book Description

This comprehensive introduction to politics provides an essential template for assessing the health and workings of present day democracy by exploring how democratic processes bring public policy into line with popular preferences. Incorporating the latest findings from Big Data across the world, it provides a crucial framework showing students how to deploy these for themselves, providing straightforward, practical orientation to the scope and methods of modern political science.

Key features:

  • Everyday politics is explained through concrete applications to democracies across the world;
  • Predictive theories illuminate what goes on at various levels of democracy;
  • Outlines - in easy to understand terms - the basic statistical approaches that enable empirically-informed analysis;
  • Rich textual features include chapter summaries, reviews, key points, illustrative briefings, key concepts, project and essay suggestions, relevant reading all clearly explained in ‘How to Use This Book’;
  • Provides a firm basis for institutional and normative approaches to democratic politics;
  • Concluding section reviews other approaches to explaining politics, assessing their strengths and weaknesses.

Politics is an essential resource for students of political science and of key interest to economics, public policy analysis and more broadly the social sciences.

Table of Contents

Preface: Explaining Politics Systematically

Introduction: Politics and Policy What Do We Want to Explain and How?

Part I: Processes

Elections alternate party-based governments with different preferences and priorities thus bringing public policy into line with centrist popular preferences in the long run: Overview

1. Why Politics? Making Policies to Provide Public Goods

2. How Popular Preferences Develop

3. Measuring Electoral Preferences

4. Electors’ Policy Thinking: From a Joined Up Left-Right Perspective to Issue-by-Issue Reactions

5. Party Policy Thinking: Framing Policy Targets and Election-Based Estimates of Majority Preferences

6. Matching Public Policy to Popular Preferences

7. The ‘Web of Explanation’: Relating Process Theories to each other Within a General Political Science Context

Part II: Rules

Rules designate – but may misrepresent – majority preferences, thus biasing policy outcomes: Overview

8. Majority Choice of Policies: Voting Paradoxes and Attempted Solutions

9. General Elections and Election Systems: Finalizing Collective Choice of Policies

Part III: Protagonists

Parties and governments shape popular preferences and reflect them in public policies: Overview

10. Citizens, Parties and Governments: Interactive Preference Formation

11. Parties: Ideological Policy-Carriers

12. Governments: Prime Participants in Policy Making

13. Ministries: Separating out Policy Areas

Part IV: States

Collective action without binding rules: Overview

14. Globalization and World Democracy

Part V: Explanation

Explaining politics by specifying its processes so as to predict outcomes

Overview: Theory-Driven Data-Analysis

15. Generating ‘Big Data’: Sources, Procedures, Error Checks

16. Simplifying ‘Big Data’: Dimensions, Majorities and the (Missing?) Middle

17. Managing ‘Big Data’: Theoretical Explanation and Statistical Analysis

18. Developing Political Science by Explaining Democracy

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Ian Budge is Emeritus Professor in the Department of Government, University of Essex UK, and well known internationally as author of numerous research articles and textbooks on democratic politics.


"This is a superb text, one that builds on what political scientists have learned and yet integrates and illuminates it. Politics: A Unified Introduction to How Democracy Works makes sense of the political world and how it really works in modern democratic politics, and I heartily recommend it." - Christopher Wlezien, University of Texas at Austin, USA.

"This book is lively, engaging and accessible to anyone who has even a passing interest in politics, policy and government. The chapters cover a wide range of important issues, concepts and foundational ideas in politics." - Zareh Ghazarian, Monash University, Australia.

"This book is a marvellous and useful introduction to modern political science. Professor Ian Budge has produced a fresh approach to study and analyse ‘Democratic Politics’. By means of ‘predictive theory’ the student can understand and explain the political process in full. I am convinced that this introduction fills a void and is an asset for any student of political science, be it a freshman or advanced in this field." - Hans Keman, VU University Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

"For any student interested in a systematic and rigorous introduction to a science of politics, this book is a must-read" - Edoardo Bressanelli, King's College London, UK.

"Terrific systematic presentation which specifies the conditions under which contemporary democracies operate clearly and concisely both for students and the general public." - Jean Blondel, Founding Professor, Department of Government, University of Essex, UK, and Founding Director of the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR).