The public thermostat, political responsiveness and error-correction: border control and asylum in Britain, 1994–2007
British Journal of Political Science, 39, (4), . (doi:10.1017/S000712340900074X).
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The responsiveness of government to the preferences of its citizens is considered to be an important indicator of the performance of advanced democracy. This article argues that the thermostatic model of policy/opinion responsiveness can be represented in the form of an error-correction model where policy and public opinion variables are cointegrated, and extends the focus of investigation to government outputs. This models the short-run and long-run equilibrium of interactions between public opinion and policy/bureaucratic outputs. The article assesses the performance of British government – and, in particular, the Immigration and Nationality Directorate of the Home Office – in the operation of border controls and administration of claims for asylum, for the period between 1994 and 2007.
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