Toward the permissive society? Morality policy agendas and policy directions in Western democracies

Studlar, Donley T. and Burns, Gordon J. (2015) Toward the permissive society? Morality policy agendas and policy directions in Western democracies. Policy Sciences, 48 (3). pp. 273-291. ISSN 0032-2687

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    Abstract

    Employing two theories of morality policy, Policy Types and the "Two Worlds" of religious/secular party systems, we describe and attempt to explain the empirical patterns for five morality policy issues (abortion, capital punishment, euthanasia,assisted reproductive technology/stem cell research, and same-sex marriage) across 24 Western democracies since World War II. What is the content of policy adoption? Are some countries consistently more permissive or restrictive on morality issues? How long do these issues stay on the political agenda? These issues have been on the agendas of all of the countries for varying time periods, with some being older in vintage (death penalty, abortion, euthanasia) than others (ART/stem cells and same-sex marriage). The general tendency has been toward greater permissiveness, but there still remains considerable policy diversity. While there has been substantial change on morality policies in Western democracies since World War II, the change is more thorough in some jurisdictions and in some regions more than others.