Scientific article
Open access

Class gaps in perceptions of political voice: liberal democracies 1974–2016

Published inWest European politics, p. p.1-27
Publication date2022-03-29
First online date2022-03-29

This article explores the role of occupation, education and income on individuals’ perceptions of being politically represented. Based on ISSP surveys in 19 liberal democracies between 1996 and 2016 and a cross-national survey carried out in the mid-1970s, we analyse responses to the statement that ‘people like me do not have any say about what the government does’. We show a clear occupational and educational hierarchy in perceptions of being politically represented (or having a political voice), with routine workers and skilled production workers perceiving themselves as much less well represented than upper middle-class professionals. Analysing changes over time, we show that class gaps were already large in the mid-1970s and increased further over the following decades. By contrast, class gaps were stable over the period from the mid-1990s to the mid-2010s. Most strikingly, we observe a sharp decline in perceived political influence among unionised workers since the 1970s.

  • Social classes
  • Political voice
  • Representation
  • Trade unions
  • Inequalities
  • European Commission - Unequal Democracies [741538]
Citation (ISO format)
RENNWALD, Line, PONTUSSON, Harry Jonas. Class gaps in perceptions of political voice: liberal democracies 1974–2016. In: West European politics, 2022, p. p.1–27. doi: 10.1080/01402382.2022.2046419
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0140-2382

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