Policy Effects on Political Engagement

  • Conrad ZillerEmail author


Public policies addressing societal problems typically aim to change citizens’ behaviors and attitudes. While scholars frequently link cross-national differences in specific policies with individuals’ attitudinal or behavioral outcomes, the specific operating mechanisms often remain veiled. The policy feedback literature provides an explanatory framework for how policies affect citizens’ political orientations and behavior, which in turn has an impact on subsequent policy developments. This article provides an overview of policy feedback mechanisms, and reviews comparative empirical studies that link policy indicators and forms of individual-level political engagement. As illustrative examples, I have focused on social policies and immigrant integration policies as two widely publicized policy areas. Since the identification of policy effects is challenging for a number of methodological reasons, I also discuss advances related to empirical design.


Policy feedback Welfare state Social policy Immigrant integration policy Political support 

Einfluss von Policy auf politisches Engagement


Politische Maßnahmen, die gesellschaftliche Probleme angehen, zielen in der Regel auf Verhaltens- und Einstellungsänderungen der Bürgerinnen und Bürger ab. Auch werden innerhalb der empirisch-vergleichenden politischen Soziologie länderübergreifende Unterschiede in Institutionen und Policies zur Erklärung von Einstellungs- und Verhaltensunterschieden genutzt. Allerdings werden dabei die Vermittlungsmechanismen zwischen Politik und Individuum oftmals nicht hinreichend spezifiziert und getestet. Die Policy-Feedback-Literatur bietet einen Theorierahmen, um Policies mit politischen Orientierungen und Verhaltensweisen zu verknüpfen. In dem vorliegenden Artikel wird ein Überblick über Policy-Feedback-Mechanismen und entsprechende empirische Studien gegeben. Zur weiteren Verdeutlichung werden vergleichende Untersuchungen zur Wirkung von wohlfahrtsstaatlicher Sozialpolitik sowie Integrationspolitik auf politisches Engagement vorgestellt und diskutiert. Da die Identifizierung kausaler Effekte im Rahmen der Policy-Forschung eine Herausforderung darstellt, wird abschließend auf methodische Weiterentwicklungen eingegangen.


Policy-Feedback Sozialstaat Sozialpolitik Integrationspolitik Politische Unterstützung 



I thank Sigrid Roßteutscher, Erik Gahner Larsen, Staffan Kumlin, and the editors of the special issue Hans-Jürgen Andreß, Detlef Fetchenhauer, and Heiner Meulemann for helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden GmbH, ein Teil von Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Sociology and Social PsychologyUniversity of CologneCologneGermany

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