Working paper
Open access

Unequal Responsiveness and Government Partisanship in Northwest Europe

Number of pages40
  • Unequal Democracies Working Paper; 31
First online date2021-11-24

This paper pools datasets on policy responsiveness to public opinion in Germany, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Following the empirical strategy set out by Gilens (2012), we show that the policy outputs correspond much better to the preferences of affluent citizens than to the preferences of low- and middle-income citizens in all four countries. We proceed to explore how government partisanship conditions unequal responsiveness. In so doing, we distinguish between economic/welfare issues and other issues and we also distinguish between the period before 1998 and the period since 1998. Our findings suggest that policy-making under Left-leaning governments was relatively more responsive to low- and middle-income citizens in the economic/welfare domain before 1998, but this was not true for other policy domains before 1998 and it is no longer true for the economic/welfare domain. We conclude with some general reflections on the implications of our empirical findings for the literature on mechanisms of unequal representation in liberal democracies.

Citation (ISO format)
MATHISEN, Ruben et al. Unequal Responsiveness and Government Partisanship in Northwest Europe. 2021
Main files (1)
Working paper
  • PID : unige:156830

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