Government spending is an important component of public finance that enables government to deliver services and implement policies of the executive. This research examines government spending for HIV/AIDS treatment at the provincial sphere of government and queries whether citizens can influence public policy decision-making for HIV/AIDS treatment. The research considers the nature of the state, it being either a unitary system or a federal system (centralised or decentralised). Importantly, the research examines the effect of citizens on public policy decision-making, as they exercise their franchise to vote. Moreover, this dissertation empirically examines how government has spent in response to the HIV/AIDS epidemic and measures any influence voters may have on government spending, with spending giving indication of public policy decision-making by the government of the day. The literature review identifies techniques used by other researchers on the matter and previous research on the relationship between voters and government spending. For example, Husted and Kenny studied votersí potential to influence government spending at the provincial [state] sphere of government. The outcome of their research was inconclusive but at the least suggests those variables that might effect government spending - variables that might be used for this dissertation. For example, institutional and latent groups are identified, to examine voting effects and other influences on policy decisions. The literature review discusses collaborative and voter-collective actions, for explanatory effects on policy decisions as well. Essentially, variables and specifications for a regression model are suggested to facilitate a test of hypothesis that voters do not have the ability to influence provincial government spending for HIV/AIDS policy. The research design for this dissertation is therefore evaluative and generally measures a programme. Indeed, that programme is one of HIV/AIDS treatment in South Africa. Bivariate and multivariate relationships are determined to begin to answer the research question. Can voters effect public policy decision made on HIV/AIDS treatment? Put yet another way, that question is whether the electorate, as reflected by voter turnout, can influence provincial spending on HIV/AIDS treatment? The hypothesis is: The electorate does not have the potential to influence provincial spending for HIV/AIDS treatment. Spending, or lack thereof, reflects a public policy decision of government. Notably, reference to the government of the day implies the ruling [South] African National Congress (ANC) party. Conclusively, after a number of iterations that involved running several bivariate and multivariate regression models, the outcome was that voters could influence provincial spending for HIV/AIDS treatment. The hypothesis was rejected that the electorate does not have the potential to influence provincial spending and HIV/AIDS.
© University of Pretoria 2007