Department of Political Science

Peter Munk Christiansen

The Politics of Policy Inquiry Commissions: Denmark and Norway, 1971-2017

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Policy inquiry commissions are widely used in policy-preparation processes across Europe and beyond. While previous research has primarily focused on commissions as expert bodies and corporatist arrangements, this study investigates whether political factors affect a political incumbent's decision to establish commissions. The hypothesis is that incumbent parties are more likely to appoint commissions under certain political conditions – i.e. depending on parliamentary strength, government colour and government composition – and when certain policy issues are salient on the policy agenda of the government and the opposition. The study uses a novel dataset that combines more than 2000 commission appointments in Norway and Denmark between 1971 and 2017 with party manifesto and electoral study data to test the expectations. The agenda perspective is partly sustained, and the study shows that minority governments, left-leaning governments, and coalition governments appoint commissions more extensively than their counterparts, although the results differ slightly in the two countries.
Original languageEnglish
JournalWest European Politics
Number of pages25
ISSN0140-2382
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2020

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