Duty calls but not for all: The policy involvement of cabinet ministers during crisis

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During a crisis, the public expects the government to handle the situation. In parliamentary democracies, these expectations are directed to the cabinet and its ministers. Cabinet ministers are expected to be highly involved in policy making under their jurisdiction and in general. During periods of politics as usual, ministers differ in their policy involvement. This paper asks whether that changes during a crisis. Based on an analysis of cabinet ministers in Israel during the first wave of the COVID19 crisis, this paper finds that ministers’ policy involvement during a crisis is relatively low. Most ministers are little involved in issues outside their jurisdiction. Ministers less central to the crisis management are also little involved in issues under their jurisdiction. Ministers central to the crisis management are highly involved in introducing decisions on issues under their jurisdiction, but not necessarily in other aspects of policy making. These findings have implications for issues of accountability and trust.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)47-69
Number of pages23
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number1
Early online date2022
StatePublished - Feb 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 European Consortium for Political Research.


  • COVID-19
  • Cabinet ministers
  • crisis
  • policy making


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