The changing face of responsibility : a cross-time comparison of French social democratic executives
Title: The changing face of responsibility : a cross-time comparison of French social democratic executives
Citation: Party politics, 2018, OnlineFirst
ISSN: 1354-0688; 1460-3683
This article investigates the changing face of governmental responsibility through a comparative content analysis of the yearly budgetary presentations of the French ministers of economy and finance. The cases analysed are the governments under the Hollande (2012–2017) and first Mitterrand (1981–1986) presidencies. In both cases, there were strong external pressures that hindered the pursuit of expansionary budgetary policies and that forced the executives to pursue more restrictive measures. The analysis consists in a comparison of how the ministers in the two different time periods justified this policy course, hypothesizing that international institutional constraints played a more prominent role during the Hollande than during the Mitterrand presidency. By distinguishing between responsive and responsible justifications, we find that institutional constraints are indeed more prominent in the justifications provided by contemporary ministers. These findings have important repercussions for understanding how the national democratic cycle functions under the conditions of European integration. In particular, they indicate that the accountability stage results to be significantly altered, as governments do no longer take full credit for their measures, but rather present themselves as spokespersons for a web of institutions. These findings, we argue, are likely not to be peculiar to France but rather relate to a general trend in European politics.
Published online 27 February 2018
Type of Access: openAccess
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