UCL Uncovering Politics

Public Preferences on Taxes and Spending

Episode Summary

This week we are looking at public preferences on taxes and spending. What do people want? Indeed, do people have clear preferences at all?

Episode Notes

Few issues in public policy are as important as the size of the state. How much should the state spend? How much, therefore, should it raise in taxes? And what exactly should it spend this money on?

In a democracy, we expect policymakers to be responsive to public opinion in answering such questions. But what do the public actually want? Indeed, to what extent do most of us even have meaningful preferences that take account of unavoidable trade-offs between different priorities?

Such questions have long challenged political scientists. But a new paper just published by three colleagues here in the UCL Department of Political Science offers a new approach to measuring such preferences, and some intriguing answers on what people want.

Those colleagues are Lucy Barnes, Jack Blumenau, and Ben Lauderdale. And we are delighted to be joined by Dr Lucy Barnes, Associate Professor in Comparative Politics and our Deputy Head of Department, and Ben Lauderdale, Professor of Political Science and Head of Department in the UCL Department of Political Science.

Mentioned in this episode: Measuring Attitudes toward Public Spending Using a Multivariate Tax Summary Experiment