Volume 50, No. 1 | Articles without a common theme

Kurt Houlberg | Social, economic, environmental and political constraints on municipal fiscal policy: Do tough national sanctions act as a fire blanket or an oxygen tent?

The impact of local social, economic, environmental and political constraints (SEEP) on local government policy has long been a central theme of the decentralization and local government literature. How do local SEEP factors affect the fiscal management of Danish municipalities after a major structural reform in 2007? Does a tough sanction-based expenditure limitation regime affect the relationship between local external constraints and municipal fiscal policy? The fiscal management of Danish municipalities has improved significantly after the economic crisis and a sanction regime implemented by the national government in 2011. This empirical analysis shows that economic constraints and especially changes in economic constraints significantly affect the fiscal policy but that also environmental instability in terms of population changes make it harder to balance the budget. In addition, a sanction regime seems to place constraints on local authorities’ fiscal management policy, which reduces the importance of environmental factors. 

Carina Saxlund Bischoff and Pernille Boye Koch | Vice and virtue in civil service and research: A methodological critique of the Bo Smith Committee’s studies of civil service compliance with rules and norms

The Bo Smith Committee’s conclusions concerning the state of Danish civil service have had a significant impact on the public debate. The conclusions dismiss the notion that there are any systemic flaws in the interaction between politicians and civil servants, and emphasize extensive compliance with the classic civil service norms. We critically examine the studies on which these conclusions rest and uncover violations of key methodological principles that call into question the validity of the committees conclusions. In fact, the data gives rise to contrary conclusions with respect to compliance with the legality norm. They reveal that a remarkably high number of civil servants are willing to assist in illegal acts. In conclusion, we emphasize the need for more – and better – studies to obtain relevant insights into compliance with key norms in the national civil service.  

David Vestergård Ulrichsen og Emil Bargmann Madsen | Right radicalism: A luxury good for globalization losers in equal societies?

Electoral support of radical right parties (RRPs) varies significantly between European countries. In Denmark and the Netherlands, these parties enjoy electoral popularity, while similar support is absent in Portugal and Estonia. We investigate whether economic inequality affects the support of RRPs, and whether the effect is most pronounced among losers of economic globalization. Finally, we test if the association strengthened after the onset of the economic crisis in 2008. Using multilevel cross-sectional data from 16 European countries in 2006 and 2010, we show that economic inequality decreases support for RRPs, especially among losers of globalization. We argue that inequality increases the impact of voters’ economic interests on their party choice and decreases the importance of social cultural issues. Therefore fewer people will vote for RRPs who primarily mobilize voters on social cultural issues.  

Ditte Shamshiri-Petersen | Occasional and consistent swing voters: Two types of swing voters

The share of swing voters in Danish general elections has increased substantially over the past decades. Today, more than one-third of Danish voters switch party between national elections. Most literature peg swing voters as less politically engaged and competent. However, swing voters are not a homogeneous group. Analysis of panel survey data from 2001-2005 reveals significant differences between occasional and consistent swing voters. Whereas voters who switch party time after time indeed tend to be less engaged and knowledgeable about politics, this does not apply to voters who switch only occasionally.  

Morten Ejrnæs, Tine Fuglsang and Merete Monrad | A Danish poverty line? Poverty judgements by students of social work, pedagogy and health services

When is a family poor? We examine what factors are emphasized when people judge whether a family is poor or not. The article is based on a factorial survey with 356 respondents who study social work, nursing, nursery teaching and nutrition and health. Based on theories of poverty, we study what aspects of a family’s life situation are accentuated when people judge whether the family is poor or not. The respondents primarily emphasize income in their poverty judgements. Some deprivations also enter into the judgements, while the duration of deprivations, gender and labor market participation have no or minimal significance for the judgements.  

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