English title: Trustees, Delegates, and Responsiveness in Comparative Perspective

Author(s): Shaun Bowler -

Language: English

Type: Journal article

Year: 2017


A large body of aggregate-level work shows that government policies do indeed respond to citizen preferences. But whether citizens recognize that government is responsive is another question entirely. Indeed, a prior question is whether or not citizens value responsiveness in the way that academic research assumes they should in the first place. Using comparative data from the European Social Survey, this article examines how citizens see government responsiveness. We show that several key assumptions of the aggregate-level literature are met at the individual level. But we also present results that show that attitudes toward representation and responsiveness are colored, sometimes in quite surprising ways, by winner–loser effects. In a finding that stands in some contrast to the normative literature on the topic, we show that these sorts of short-term attitudes help shape preferences for models of representation. In particular, we show that the distinction between delegates and trustees is a conceptual distinction that has limits in helping us to understand citizen preferences for representation.

Volume: 50

Issue: 6

From page no: 766

To page no: 793

Refereed: Yes

DOI: 10.1177/0010414015626447

Journal: Comparative Political Studies

By continuing to visit our site, you accept the use of cookies. We use cookies for website functionality
and analyzing site usage through anonymized Google Analytics tracking. [Read more]