Is morality policy different? institutional explanations for postwar western europe

Donley Studlar, Alessandro Cagossi, Robert D. Duval

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

40 Citations (Scopus)


Although there has been increasing recognition that morality policy in Western democracies is a distinctive field of study, many analyses are relatively narrow in issues and jurisdictions. This contribution examines broad empirical patterns for five morality policy issues across 18 West European democracies since World War II. The issues analysed are abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia, assisted reproductive technology (ART, including stem cell research) and same-sex marriage. Which of two prominent institutional theories of morality policy, policy type and two worlds, help explain morality policy processes? The results indicate that morality policy processes do differ from the usual ones of parliamentary government, and that important differences are captured by the religious/secular division of party systems, depending on which countries are considered for each category.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)353-371
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number3 special issue
Early online date20 Mar 2013
Publication statusPublished - 2013


  • institutions
  • party government model
  • religious party system
  • secular party system
  • policy type


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