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A Loud but Noisy Signal? Public Opinion and Education Reform in Western Europe


Neimanns,  Erik
Politische Ökonomie von Wachstumsmodellen, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Busemeyer, M. R., Garritzmann, J. L., & Neimanns, E. (2020). A Loud but Noisy Signal? Public Opinion and Education Reform in Western Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-F3CA-4
This path-breaking addition to the Comparative Politics of Education series studies the influence of public opinion on the contemporary politics of education reform in Western Europe. The authors analyze new data from a survey of public opinion on education policy across eight countries, and they also provide detailed case studies of reform processes based on interviews with policy-makers and stakeholders. The book's core finding is that public opinion has the greatest influence in a world of 'loud' politics, when salience is high and attitudes are coherent. In contrast, when issues are salient but attitudes are conflicting, the signal of public opinion turns 'loud, but noisy' and party politics have a stronger influence on policy-making. In the case of 'quiet' politics, when issue salience is low, interest groups are dominant. This book is required reading for anyone seeking to make sense of policy-makers' selective responsiveness to public demands and concerns. This accessible yet thorough analysis breaks new empirical ground in the field of education policy by providing new data from a representative survey in eight Western European countries The multi-method research conducted shows how both quantitative and qualitative perspectives can be fruitfully combined Develops a broader argument about the role of public opinion, party politics and interest groups in policy-making that can be applied to other policy fields