“Where’s the Money Coming From? How Tax and Spending Debates frame Electoral Politics” By Peter Sloman

Please join us online this week to engage with Dr. Peter Sloman of POLIS, University of Cambridge on Thursday September 17th, from 17:00-18:00 (BST) ONLINE (e-mail hmh46@cam.ac.uk or gevm2@cam.ac.uk for link).

Peter will be discussing the following topic: “Where’s the Money Coming From? How Tax and Spending Debates frame Electoral Politics”

Abstract: Tax and spending are central to democratic politics in the UK and elsewhere, but political scientists have paid surprisingly little attention to the practice of manifesto costings or the ways in which fiscal promises shape voting behaviour. This paper explores how British parties have used manifesto costings to frame prospective choices for voters since the 1950s, and develops a theoretical framework for understanding why warnings about ‘tax bombshells’ and ‘black holes’ in parties’ spending plans seem to be so powerful in Westminster democracies such as the UK. Whereas retrospective evaluations of economic performance can be difficult for governments to control, forward-looking fiscal debates are structurally weighed towards incumbent parties. Other constitutional structures may have very different implications for the role of public opinion in the tax policy-making process.

Peter Sloman is University Senior Lecturer in British Politics at POLIS and a Fellow of Churchill College. Before joining POLIS in 2015 he spent ten years in Oxford, where he was a student at Queen’s and a junior research fellow at New College.

Peter’s research focusses on political ideas, public policy, and electoral politics in modern Britain. His first book, The Liberal Party and the Economy, 1929-1964 (Oxford, 2015) explored how British Liberals engaged with economic thought in the era of John Maynard Keynes and William Beveridge. His second book, Transfer State (Oxford, 2019), examines how changing attitudes to work and social welfare have shaped the development of Universal Credit and the campaign for a universal basic income.

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