Is Austrian budgetary policy still “political”? A cross-time comparison of budget speeches

Johannes Karremans, Johann Kaltenleithner


This paper investigates whether and how the democratic feedback loop between the government and parliament has been affected in Austrian budgetary policy-making. The question stems from the observation that since 2009 the budgetary policy-making process has been substantially affected by both national and European reforms, with some scholars arguing that budgetary policy today has become a bureaucratic rather than a political exercise. Through a comparative content analysis of finance ministers’ budget speeches we show that this is not the case and that instead – compared to the past – the share of political discourse has remained substantial. Furthermore, we find that today Austrian governments present the parliament with more detailed information about their planned expenditures and taxations, and that these plans are linked more strongly to the governing parties’ manifestos rather than the European country-specific recommendations.


accountability; Austrian politics; budgetary policy; European Semester; party-government


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