Projektleiter: Prof. Dr. Reimut Zohlnhöfer

Portrait Zohlnhöfer


Political Expectations and Responsibility Attribution


Is blame for unpopular or failed policies attributed differently depending on who is responsible

for these policies? Do voters attribute more blame to parties for unsuccessful policies that are the party’s ‘trade-mark’ policies than for failing or unpopular policies which voters would not have expected the party to pursue? This project –conducted in cooperation with Raanan Sulitz-eanu-Kenan, D.Phil. (Oxford), Assistant Professor at the Hebrew University, Jerusalem –will systematically investigate the relationship between voters’expectations about a policy-maker and the degree of public blame they attribute to that policy-maker for his failed or unpopular policies. This will be done by means of online survey experiments conducted in Germany and Israel –a research design that is still only rarely used in political science. The findings of this study are expected to improve our understanding of an often unavoidable tension between democratic accountability and the need of elected officials to adopt unpopular policies.



  • Benoit, Kenneth and Michael Laver. 2006. Party Policy in Modern Democracies, London.
  • Berrebi, Claudand Esteban F. Klor. 2006. On Terrorism and Electoral Outcomes, Journal of Conflict Resolution 50(6): 899-925.
  • Green-Pedersen, Christoffer. 2002. The Politics of Justification. Party Competition and Welfare-State Retrenchment in Denmark and the Netherlands from 1982 to 1998, Amsterdam.
  • Ross, Fiona. 2000. “Beyond left and right”: The New Partisan Politics of Welfare. Governance13(2):155-183.
  • Zohlnhöfer, Reimut. 2007. The Politics of Budget Consolidation in Britain and Germany: The Impact of BlameAvoidance Opportunities. West European Politics30(5): 1120-1138.
  • Zohlnhöfer, Reimut, Frieder Wolf, and Georg Wenzelburger. 2012. Parteien und die Generosität der Altersrenten in Zeiten permanenter Austerität. Swiss Political Science Review18(1): 28-53



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Letzte Änderung: 30.01.2018
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