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See detailBringing representatives back in. How political parties moderate patterns of inequality in opinion representation
Lesschaeve, Christophe UL

in European Political Science (2021)

Democratic theory argues that individuals should have their policy preferences equally represented in politics. Research on opinion congruence has often found, however, that political parties’ views are ... [more ▼]

Democratic theory argues that individuals should have their policy preferences equally represented in politics. Research on opinion congruence has often found, however, that political parties’ views are more likely to align with those of higher-income and higher educated citizens. We argue that this conclusion does not account for heterogeneity among parties. Based on an integrated dataset containing the positions of over 1,700 Belgian citizens and 11 Belgian parties on over 120 policy statements, we examine how opinion congruence inequality between privileged and underprivileged people varies between parties. We find that left-wing parties align more with underprivileged citizens than they do with privileged citizens on economic issues, while the opposite holds for right-wing parties. On cultural issues, however, both left- and right-wing parties better represent the preferences of privileged people. The exception is the radical right party Vlaams Belang, which on the cultural dimensions better represents the views of underprivileged voters. [less ▲]

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See detailresearch note: studying a new phase of europeanisation of national parliaments
Gattermann, Katjana; Högenauer, Anna-Lena UL; Huff, Ariella

in European Political Science (2015)

In this research note, we propose studying a new trend of Europeanisation in national parliaments within the European Union (EU). We argue that further integration, combined with the opportunities and ... [more ▼]

In this research note, we propose studying a new trend of Europeanisation in national parliaments within the European Union (EU). We argue that further integration, combined with the opportunities and challenges presented by the Lisbon Treaty and the financial crisis, created pressure on national parliaments to expand the scrutiny process beyond European Affairs Committees. In this new phase of Europeanisation, parliaments are increasingly ‘mainstreaming’ EU affairs scrutiny, blurring the distinction between national and European policies and involving larger numbers of MPs. Following a review of existing research on the Europeanisation of national parliaments in the post-Lisbon era, we propose studying four dimensions of mainstreaming: the rising involvement of sectoral committees in European affairs; the adaptation of parliamentary staff to EU policy-making; the growing salience of European affairs in plenary debates; and increasing inter-parliamentary cooperation beyond European affairs specialists. We argue that this trend has significant implications for research that studies the roles of national parliaments in the democratic functioning of the EU. [less ▲]

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