The Scope of Government

The Scope of Government

The Scope of Government

The Scope of Government


The arrival of the welfare state in Western Europe brought with it a vast expansion in the role of government. That expansion led to fears that the increased expectations of citizens would lead to government overload and `ungovernability'. This book sheds new and surprisingly light on the whole idea of a crisis of ungovernability. It begins by examining the expanding scope of government in the post-War period. Drawing on a vast data set stretching back over the last two decades and right across Europe, the book reveals public attitudes towards the range and extent of government activity. Changes in the public's political agenda are identified, along with attitudes towards the size of government, taxation, and the equality and security goals of the welfare state. Attitudes towards government intervention in the economy, the environment, and the media are also examined. The final chapters assess the significance for governments of beliefs about the scope of government. Series description This set of five volumes is an exhaustive study of beliefs in government in post-war Europe. Based upon an extensive collection of survey evidence, the results challenge widely argued theories of mass opinion, and much scholarly writing about citizen attitudes towards government and politics. The series arises from a research project sponsored by the European Science Foundation. Reviews of the series: `The quality of the empirical analysis is consistently high...[an] important collection of empirical studies addressing the debate about the "crisis of representation" in Europe.' Journal of Public Policy `These volumes contain the work of many of the most important scholars in the field of public opinion in Europe today...These five volumes represent a major contribution to comparative politics, especially the study of mass politics. The chapters provide a wealth of information about public opinion in contemporary Europe and the relationship between state and society...The volumes clearly will be read by all students of European politics...' Times Educational Supplement `The Beliefs in Government series is a monumental achievement. It tells us at least everything we want to know about the structure of European public opinion'. The Good Society


This volume, the third of the five volumes in the Beliefs in Government series, is the work of a group of twelve scholars from eight European countries. Apart from thanking our colleagues in the research group, the editors wish to thank several people and institutions for their assistance in various aspects of this project.

We are grateful to the European Science Foundation for initiating the project and supporting it throughout. Our research group first met in the autumn of 1989 and over the next five years it met in eight different places across Europe, from Umeå to Lisbon. From the perspective of administration, such habits must be a challenge. Dr John Smith in particular deserves to be warmly thanked for the smooth administration of our project.

Retrieving and distributing the data files upon which our study builds is a considerable problem in a comparative project such as ours. We are indebted to the Zentralarchiv in Cologne, especially to Ekkehard Mochmann, as well as to the ESRC Archive at Essex University and the Scandinavian and Dutch data archives, for providing us with the data and codebooks needed for the analyses in this volume.

Our work benefited from the criticism of our colleagues in the three other research groups and from other scholars. Particularly valuable were the comments, sometimes severe, offered by Professor William Lafferty and Professor Albert Weale at the Strasbourg Conference held in the summer of 1993. Thanks to their critique, several chapters were reworked and improved during the last phase of the project.

This volume is in every way a collaborative product, in which the contributions of the authors go far beyond their own chapters. At every stage, all members of the group were involved in the design, and redesign, of the volume. But the final product also owes much to Helen Sibley and Sharon Duthie, who wrestled to bring order to unruly disks, manifold tables, and the idiosyncrasies of several different languages.

Ole Borre Elinor Scarbrough December 1994 . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed


An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.