Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-4rdrl Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-24T11:38:29.907Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Representation through the eyes of the voter: a cost-benefit analysis of European integration

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  10 May 2016

Gabriela Borz*
School of Government and Public Policy, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, UK
Get access


This article explains variation in the quality of representation in the context of European Parliament elections. Specifically, it clarifies how voters relate to political parties on the issue of European integration and whether they are represented, misrepresented, or indifferent to this issue. The analysis shows that perceived benefits of European integration do drive a perfect voter-party match while perceived costs, when high, drive a perfect match between Eurosceptic voters and likeminded parties and make voters less indifferent. The analysis draws attention to the high number of status quo voters who, in the absence of a party with similar views, could channel their vote towards a party promoting integration, but only if their knowledge about the EU and its benefits increases.

Research Article
© Società Italiana di Scienza Politica 2016 

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)


Azrout, R., van Spanje, J. and de Vreese, C. (2011), ‘Talking Turkey: anti-immigrant attitudes and their effect on support for Turkish membership of the EU’, European Union Politics 12(1): 319.Google Scholar
Barbulescu, R. (2009), ‘The economic crisis and its effects for intra-European movement: mobility patterns and state responses. the case of Romanians in Spain’. Centre on Migration, Policy and Society Annual Conference, September 21--22, University of Oxford, Oxford.Google Scholar
Belchior, M. (2013), ‘Explaining left-right congruence across European party systems: a test of micro, meso-, and macro-level models’, Comparative Political Studies 46(3): 352386.Google Scholar
Blais, A. and Bodet, M.A. (2006), ‘Does proportional representation foster closer congruence between citizens and policymakers?’, Comparative Political Studies 39(10): 12431262.Google Scholar
Borz, G. and Rose, R. (2010), Mapping Parties Across Europe With Profiler Data, Aberdeen: CSPP Studies in Public Policy Number 470.Google Scholar
Brandenburg, H. and Johns, R. (2014), ‘The declining representativeness of the British Party System, and why it matters’, Political Studies 62: 704725.Google Scholar
Budge, I. and McDonald, M.D. (2007), ‘Elections and party system effects on policy representation: bringing time into comparative perspective’, Electoral Studies 26(1): 168179.Google Scholar
Budge, I., Keman, J.E., McDonald, M. and Pennings, P. (2012), Organizing Democratic Choice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Carrubba, C.J. (1997), ‘Net financial transfers in the European Union: who gets what and why?’, Journal of Politics 59(2): 469496.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Costello, R., Thomassen, J. and Rosema, M. (2012), ‘European parliamentary elections and political representation’, West European Politics 35(6): 12261248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Dahl, R. (1956), A Preface to Democratic Theory, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
Dalton, R. (2015), ‘Party representation across multiple issue dimensions’, Party Politics, 114, first published online 16 November 2015.Google Scholar
Dalton, R., Farrell, D. and McAllister, I. (2011), Political Parties and Democratic Linkage, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
de Vreese, C.H. and Boomgaarden, H.G. (2005), ‘Fear of immigration and support for European integration’, European Union Politics 6(1): 5982.Google Scholar
de Vries, C.E., van der Brug, W., van Egmond, M.H. and van der Eijk, C. (2011), ‘Individual and contextual variation in EU issue voting: the role of political information’, Electoral Studies 30(1): 1628.Google Scholar
Druckman, N.J. and Lupia, A. (2016), ‘Preference change in competitive political environments’, Annual Review of Political Science 19: 119.Google Scholar
Finkel, S.E. (1985), ‘Reciprocal effects of participation and political efficacy: a panel analysis’, American Journal of Political Science 29(4): 891913.Google Scholar
Franklin, M. and Wlezien, C. (1997), ‘The responsive public: issue salience, policy changes, and preferences for European unification’, Journal of Theoretical Politics 9(3): 347363.Google Scholar
Gabel, M. (1998), ‘Public support for European integration: an empirical test of five theories’, Journal of Politics 60(20): 333354.Google Scholar
Gelman, A. and Hill, J. (2007), Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models, New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Golder, M. and Stramski, J. (2010), ‘Ideological congruence and electoral institutions’, American Journal of Political Science 54(1): 90106.Google Scholar
Golder, M. and Lloyd, G. (2014), ‘Re-evaluating the relationship between electoral rules and ideological congruence’, European Journal of Political Research 53(1): 200212.Google Scholar
Hix, S. and Marsh, M. (2007), ‘Punishment or protest?’, Journal of Politics 69(2): 495510.Google Scholar
Hix, S., Noury, A. and Roland, G. (2007), Democratic Politics in the European Parliament, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Hobolt, S., Spoon, J.-J. and Tilley, J. (2009), ‘A vote against Europe? Explaining defection at the 1999 and 2004 European parliament elections’, British Journal of Political Science 39(1): 93115.Google Scholar
Huber, J.D. and Powell, G.B. (1994), ‘Congruence between citizens and policy makers in two visions of liberal democracy’, World Politics 46(3): 291326.Google Scholar
Katz, R.S. (1980), A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems, Baltimore, MD and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.Google Scholar
Leconte, C. (2010), Understanding Euroscepticism, Basingstoke: Palgrave.Google Scholar
Mansbridge, J. (2003), ‘Rethinking representation’, American Political Science Review 97(4): 515528.Google Scholar
Mattila, M. and Raunio, T. (2006), ‘Cautious voters, supportive parties: opinion congruence on EU dimension’, European Union Politics 7(4): 427449.Google Scholar
McLaren, L.M. (2002), ‘Public support for the European Union: cost/benefit analysis or perceived cultural threat?’, Journal of Politics 64(2): 551566.Google Scholar
McLaren, L.M. (2007), ‘Explaining opposition to Turkish membership of the EU’, European Union Politics 8(2): 251278.Google Scholar
Pitkin, H.F. (1967), The Concept of Representation, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.Google Scholar
Powell, G.B. (2009), ‘The ideological congruence controversy: the impact of alternative measures, data and time periods on the effects of election rules’, Comparative Political Studies 42(12): 14751497.Google Scholar
Powell, G.B. and Vanberg, G. (2000), ‘Electoral laws, disproportionality and the left-right dimension’, British Journal of Political Science 30(3): 383411.Google Scholar
Rabe-Hesketh, S. and Skrondal, A. (2012), Multilevel and Longitudinal Modelling Using Stata, 3rd edn., College Station, TX: Stata Press.Google Scholar
Reif, K. and Schmitt, H. (1980), ‘Nine 2nd-order national elections – a conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results’, European Journal of Political Research 8(1): 344.Google Scholar
Rose, R. and Borz, G. (2015), ‘Static and dynamic views of European integration’, Journal of Common Market Studies 54(2): 370387.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
Saward, M. (2014), ‘Shape-shifting representation’, American Political Science Review 108(4): 723736.Google Scholar
Schmitt, H. and Thomassen, J.J.A. (1999), Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
Steenbergen, M.R. and Scott, D.J. (2004), ‘Contesting Europe? The salience of European integration as a party issue’, in G. Marks and M.R. Steenbergen (eds), European Integration and Political Conflict, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, pp. 165192.Google Scholar
Thomassen, J. and Schmitt, H. (1999), ‘Policy congruence’, in H. Schmitt and J. Thomassen (eds), Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 186208.Google Scholar
Trechsel, A. and Mair, P. (2009), ‘When parties (also) position themselves: an introduction to the EU profiler’. EUI Working papers No. RSCAS 2009/65, European University Institute, Florence.Google Scholar
Van der Brug, W., van der Eijk, C. and Franklin, M. (2007), The Economy and the Vote: Economic Conditions in Fifteen Countries, New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
Van der Eijk, C. and Franklin, M. (1991), ‘European community politics and electoral representation: evidence from the 1989 European Election Study’, European Journal of Political Research 19(1): 105127.Google Scholar
Van der Eijk, C. and Franklin, M. (2004), ‘European community politics and electoral representation: evidence from the 1989 European Election Study’, European Journal of Political Research 19(1): 105127.Google Scholar
Wallace, W. (1999), ‘The sharing of sovereignty: the European paradox’, Political Studies XLVII(3): 503521.Google Scholar