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Policy goals in the eyes of the public: preservation of the liberal democratic order remains most important

Economic Bulletin of March 2, 2017

More than just a few politicians and scientists see an imbalance in policy’s primary orientation toward economic goals, especially the Gross Domestic Product (GDP). In view of scientific and public discourses on prosperity, this report analyzes how voting-eligible Germans, the electorate, rated the significance of different policy areas in 2013 and again at the beginning of 2017. It is based on two representative surveys conducted together with Kantar Public (formerly TNS Infratest), in which respondents were asked to rate the relevance of various policy areas. The areas included were based on the ten social indicators favored by the study commission, “Growth, Prosperity and Quality of Life,” and 20 out of the 46 indicators the German government uses in its “Living Well in Germany” Report to describe quality of life. This report shows that the majority of German citizens do indeed view the areas which are described by the indicators as important policy dimensions. In both 2013 and 2017, “preserving democracy” had the highest relevance. In 2017, “improved care for old people” was number two, and a “more effective battle against crime” took (by a very small margin) third place, followed by “full employment.” While there is a high consensus on the importance of these four goals, the assessment of the importance of further policy goals varies greatly across people, and there are also clear systematic differences in the relevance of policy areas among different social groups. The issue of refugees does not appear as a policy goal in the classifications of the commission and the government, which iswhy it was not included in the survey.