Political Representation

Summary


In my research about political representation the main theme is policy congruence between voters and their representatives, which I have analysed for national as well as European elections. The volume How Democracy Works (2011) shows that on the whole the system of political representation functions reasonably well in modern societies, although exceptions to the rule exist. The article about European Parliament (EP) elections, written with Rory Costello and Jacques Thomassen, fits this picture: it shows that whereas in terms of the most important conflict dimension (left/right) EP members represent their voters fairly well, this is less true for the cultural and European integration dimensions. The chapter with Catherine de Vries shows that failing linkages on European integration are caused by political parties, which do not always offer the policy packages that voters desire, as well as voters, who do not always vote for parties that best match their policy preferences.

In my article on low turnout in Electoral Studies (2007) I analyse the consequences of low turnout for the quality of political representation and show that turnout levels do not matter much: contrary to what people often believe, the level of electoral turnout hardly affects the degree to which elections serve their main functions of mandate and accountability.


Key publications


Costello, Rory, Jacques Thomassen, & Martin Rosema (2012). European Parliament elections and political representation: Policy congruence between voters and parties. West European Politics, Vol. 35, No. 6, 1226-1248.

Rosema, Martin, & Catherine E. de Vries (2011). Assessing the quality of European democracy: Are voters voting correctly? In: How Democracy Works: Political Representation and Policy Congruence in Modern Societies (Essays in Honour of Jacques Thomassen) (edited by Martin Rosema, Bas Denters & Kees Aarts, pp. 199-219). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press/Pallas Publications.

Rosema, Martin, Bas Denters, & Kees Aarts, Eds. (2011). How Democracy Works: Political Representation and Policy Congruence in Modern Societies (Essays in Honour of Jacques Thomassen). Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press/Pallas Publications.

Rosema, Martin (2007). Low turnout: threat to democracy or blessing in disguise? Consequences of citizens’ varying tendencies to vote. Electoral Studies, Vol. 26, No. 3, 612-623.