Reference : Bringing representatives back in. How political parties moderate patterns of inequali...
Scientific journals : Article
Law, criminology & political science : Political science, public administration & international relations
Bringing representatives back in. How political parties moderate patterns of inequality in opinion representation
Lesschaeve, Christophe mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Humanities, Education and Social Sciences (FHSE) > Department of Social Sciences (DSOC) >]
European Political Science
Palgrave Macmillan
Yes (verified by ORBilu)
United Kingdom
[en] Opinion congruence ; Inequality ; Political parties
[en] 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.

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