Wimar Bolhuis

Econoom, wetenschapper en publicist

Presentatie bij workshop Cambridge University (UK): ‘Party manifestos and policy costings in the Netherlands’

Cambridge, 13 april 2023

Een presentatie (zie pdf hieronder voor de Power Point) gegeven ten behoeve van de workshop: ‘Where’s the money coming from?’ The electoral politics of tax and spending in C21ste democracies’. 


Peter Sloman (University of Cambridge)


  • Wimar Bolhuis (Ecorys/University of Leiden)
  • Lee de Wit and James Ackland (University of Cambridge)
  • Peter Sloman (University of Cambridge)
  • Elin Naurin (University of Gothenburg)
  • Marc Buggeln (Freie Universität Berlin)
  • Anna Killick (University College London)
  • Kristen Heim (University of Stellenbosch)
  • Seán Muller (Johannesburg Institute for Advanced Study/University of Edinburgh)


Tax and public spending are central to party competition in many countries and lie at the heart of the classic Downsian model of electoral choice, in which voters seek to maximise their expected utility through a rational evaluation of party programmes. Since the 1980s and 1990s, political parties in the UK and other major democracies have frequently published costings documents alongside their manifestos, and Parliamentary Budget Offices and think-tanks have taken on an increasingly prominent role in analysing party policies. The ‘Chartered Choices’ exercise carried out by the Centraal Planbureau in the Netherlands has been perhaps the most ambitious attempt to integrate economic analysis into the electoral process.

This workshop will bring together political scientists, economists, and contemporary historians to explore how public debates over tax, spending, and borrowing have played out in different electoral contexts since the 1980s. By ranging across disciplinary boundaries and national borders, we hope to map the ‘state of the field’ and to strengthen our understanding of how parties think about tax and spending commitments in the real world. We invite country-specific or comparative papers which discuss the implications of platform costings for party strategy, voting behaviour, democratic theory, or public policy.

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