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How well are citizens represented by their governments? Issue congruence and inequality in Europe

Stecker, Christian
Published in European Political Science Review. 2019
Abstract This study analyses congruence across various issues in 16 European democracies. Making use of public opinion and expert survey data, our analyses show that congruence between the policy preferences of citizens and the stances of governments is much more complex than what is revealed by studies focusing on ideology solely. Size and directions of incongruence are larger and more systematic on specific issues than on the left-right scale. On redistribution, citizens are more to the left than their governments, while popular support for European integration is systematically lower among citizens than among their representatives. Moreover, the relatively poor are particularly underrepresented on redistribution, while the preferences of the relatively lower educated are not well reflected in government preferences in relation to European integration. We interpret these results as being partly linked to a representation gap with privileged social groups enjoying higher levels of congruence with their government.
Keywords CongruencePolitical representationPublic opinionEurope
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ROSSET, Jan, STECKER, Christian. How well are citizens represented by their governments? Issue congruence and inequality in Europe. In: European Political Science Review, 2019. doi: 10.1017/S1755773919000043 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:118508

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Deposited on : 2019-05-28

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