Party Control, Party Competition and Public Service Performance

33 Pages Posted: 14 May 2011

See all articles by George Boyne

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School

Oliver James

University of Exeter - Department of Politics

Peter John

Department of Political Economy, KCL; University College London - School of Public Policy

Nicolai Petrovsky

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: May 12, 2011

Abstract

There is a long controversy about the extent to which left and right parties determine the content of public policies, which is mainly limited to analyses of expenditures or policy programmes. As an extension to this work, we assess party effects on other policy outcomes that matter for citizens - the performance of public services. We examine a policy-seeking model, which hypothesizes that left and right party control affects performance, and an instrumental model where all parties strive to raise performance. Our framework also suggests a mixed model in which party effects are contingent on party competition, with parties raising performance as increasing party competition places their control of government at increasing risk. We test these models with panel data on English local governments’ party control and public service performance. The results question the traditional account of left and right parties. We find a positive relationship between right-wing party control and performance. The findings suggest that left-right models need to be reframed for the contemporary context. Party government based on capacity to implement positions is associated with better service performance than non-party government. However, consistent with the mixed model, the benefits of party government are contingent on a sufficiently high level of party competition.

Keywords: performance, public management, parties

Suggested Citation

Boyne, George and James, Oliver and John, Peter and Petrovsky, Nicolai, Party Control, Party Competition and Public Service Performance (May 12, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1839646 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1839646

George Boyne

Cardiff University - Cardiff Business School ( email )

Aberconway Building
Colum Drive
Cardiff, CF10 3EU
United Kingdom
+ 44 (0) 29 20 875572 (Phone)
+ 44 (0)29 20874419 (Fax)

HOME PAGE: http://www.cf.ac.uk/carbs/hrm/boyne.html

Oliver James

University of Exeter - Department of Politics ( email )

Northcote House
The Queen's Drive
Exeter, Devon EX4 4QJ
United Kingdom

HOME PAGE: http://www.huss.ex.ac.uk/politics/staff/james/index.php

Peter John (Contact Author)

Department of Political Economy, KCL ( email )

Strand
London, WC2R 2LS
United Kingdom

University College London - School of Public Policy ( email )

29/30 Tavistock Square
London, WC1H 9QU
United Kingdom

Nicolai Petrovsky

affiliation not provided to SSRN

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