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Department of Politics and International Studies (POLIS)


Fiscal Politics in Westminster Democracies - Dr Peter Sloman

This module explores the relationship between fiscal policy, economic management, and electoral politics in three Westminster democracies (the UK, Canada, and Australia) since the 1990s. It is designed (i) to provide an opportunity for students to place debates in UK economic and social policy in a comparative perspective; (ii) to redress the neglect of Westminster democracies in much of the literature on fiscal politics, which focusses on the United States and on ‘consensus democracies’ in continental Europe; and (iii) to promote dialogue between students working on political history, party politics, policy-making, and public opinion. The module draws on a range of disciplinary perspectives – from fiscal sociology and history to economics and public administration – to explore how governments in these three countries have responded to budgetary crises, rising levels of poverty and inequality, and complex debates over fiscal federalism.

This is a research-led module, but the research in question is still in progress. Students are therefore invited to treat the course as an exercise in the ‘co-creation’ of knowledge, exploring a topic collectively through reading and seminar discussions. Suggestions for other readings are very welcome, as are perspectives drawn from students’ own experiences of research, policy, and political participation.

Further information can be found here