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The diminishing value of representing the disadvantaged: between group representation and individual career paths

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Bailer, Stefanie
Breunig, Christian
Wüst, Andreas M.
Published in British Journal of Political Science. 2021, p. 1-18
Abstract Does enhanced descriptive representation lead to substantive representation? Legislators who share descriptive features with disadvantaged groups do not necessarily represent their group interests. Instead, Members of Parliament (MPs) strategically choose when to engage with the policy topic of their corresponding groups. MPs represent their respective group at the beginning of their career because it confers credibility when they have no legislative track record and few opportunities to demonstrate expertise. These group-specific efforts are replaced by other legislative activities at later stages of their careers. The authors apply this theoretical expectation across four disadvantaged groups – women, migrants, low social class and the young – and thereby offer a broad perspective on descriptive representation. Their sample consists of a unique data base that combines biographical information on German MPs with topic-coded parliamentary questions for the period 1998 to 2013. The study demonstrates the diminishing value of representing the disadvantaged across different types of MPs.
Keywords descriptive representationsubstantive representationminority representativesGerman Bundestag
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BAILER, Stefanie et al. The diminishing value of representing the disadvantaged: between group representation and individual career paths. In: British Journal of Political Science, 2021, p. 1-18. doi: 10.1017/S0007123420000642 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:150912

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Deposited on : 2021-04-13

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