Comparative Analysis of Moral Policy Change
MORAPOL pursues two basic objectives that entail both empirically and theoretically fundamental advances of the state-of-the-art. First, the project aims to improve our understanding of a policy type that so far has found very limited scholarly attention: the regulation of morality policies. Compared to classical areas of regulatory, distributive or redistributive policies, it is a distinctive feature of these policies that societal value conflicts rather than diverging material interests shape political processes. Typical subfields of morality are (1) policies on "life and death" (abortion, euthanasia), (2) sexuality (prostitution, pornography, same-sex partnership, sexual conduct) and (3) addictive substances and addictive behaviour (drug consumption, gambling, and gun possesion). The project is the first to provide systematic empirical knowledge on the development of morality policies. It compares morality policies in 27 OECD countries over a period of fity years (1960 – 2010) and across subfields. Second, the project aims to develop explanations and identify patterns of changes in policy fields rather than for individual policies or policy items. In doing so, the influence of various international and domestic factors on morality policy change will be assessed systematically. In consequence, it is for the first time possible to develop theories that account for changes in whole policy fields or subfields.