Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

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

  • Gabriela Borz (a1)

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.

Corresponding author
Hide All
AzroutR., van SpanjeJ. and de VreeseC. (2011), ‘Talking Turkey: anti-immigrant attitudes and their effect on support for Turkish membership of the EU’, European Union Politics 12(1): 319.
BarbulescuR. (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.
BelchiorM. (2013), ‘Explaining left-right congruence across European party systems: a test of micro, meso-, and macro-level models’, Comparative Political Studies 46(3): 352386.
BlaisA. and BodetM.A. (2006), ‘Does proportional representation foster closer congruence between citizens and policymakers?’, Comparative Political Studies 39(10): 12431262.
BorzG. and RoseR. (2010), Mapping Parties Across Europe With Profiler Data, Aberdeen: CSPP Studies in Public Policy Number 470.
BrandenburgH. and JohnsR. (2014), ‘The declining representativeness of the British Party System, and why it matters’, Political Studies 62: 704725.
BudgeI. and McDonaldM.D. (2007), ‘Elections and party system effects on policy representation: bringing time into comparative perspective’, Electoral Studies 26(1): 168179.
BudgeI., KemanJ.E., McDonaldM. and PenningsP. (2012), Organizing Democratic Choice, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
CarrubbaC.J. (1997), ‘Net financial transfers in the European Union: who gets what and why?’, Journal of Politics 59(2): 469496.
CostelloR., ThomassenJ. and RosemaM. (2012), ‘European parliamentary elections and political representation’, West European Politics 35(6): 12261248.
DahlR. (1956), A Preface to Democratic Theory, Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press.
DaltonR. (2015), ‘Party representation across multiple issue dimensions’, Party Politics, 114, first published online 16 November 2015.
DaltonR., FarrellD. and McAllisterI. (2011), Political Parties and Democratic Linkage, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
de VreeseC.H. and BoomgaardenH.G. (2005), ‘Fear of immigration and support for European integration’, European Union Politics 6(1): 5982.
de VriesC.E., van der BrugW., van EgmondM.H. and van der EijkC. (2011), ‘Individual and contextual variation in EU issue voting: the role of political information’, Electoral Studies 30(1): 1628.
DruckmanN.J. and LupiaA. (2016), ‘Preference change in competitive political environments’, Annual Review of Political Science 19: 119.
FinkelS.E. (1985), ‘Reciprocal effects of participation and political efficacy: a panel analysis’, American Journal of Political Science 29(4): 891913.
FranklinM. and WlezienC. (1997), ‘The responsive public: issue salience, policy changes, and preferences for European unification’, Journal of Theoretical Politics 9(3): 347363.
GabelM. (1998), ‘Public support for European integration: an empirical test of five theories’, Journal of Politics 60(20): 333354.
GelmanA. and HillJ. (2007), Data Analysis Using Regression and Multilevel/Hierarchical Models, New York: Cambridge University Press.
GolderM. and StramskiJ. (2010), ‘Ideological congruence and electoral institutions’, American Journal of Political Science 54(1): 90106.
GolderM. and LloydG. (2014), ‘Re-evaluating the relationship between electoral rules and ideological congruence’, European Journal of Political Research 53(1): 200212.
HixS. and MarshM. (2007), ‘Punishment or protest?’, Journal of Politics 69(2): 495510.
HixS., NouryA. and RolandG. (2007), Democratic Politics in the European Parliament, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
HoboltS., SpoonJ.-J. and TilleyJ. (2009), ‘A vote against Europe? Explaining defection at the 1999 and 2004 European parliament elections’, British Journal of Political Science 39(1): 93115.
HuberJ.D. and PowellG.B. (1994), ‘Congruence between citizens and policy makers in two visions of liberal democracy’, World Politics 46(3): 291326.
KatzR.S. (1980), A Theory of Parties and Electoral Systems, Baltimore, MD and London: The Johns Hopkins University Press.
LeconteC. (2010), Understanding Euroscepticism, Basingstoke: Palgrave.
MansbridgeJ. (2003), ‘Rethinking representation’, American Political Science Review 97(4): 515528.
MattilaM. and RaunioT. (2006), ‘Cautious voters, supportive parties: opinion congruence on EU dimension’, European Union Politics 7(4): 427449.
McLarenL.M. (2002), ‘Public support for the European Union: cost/benefit analysis or perceived cultural threat?’, Journal of Politics 64(2): 551566.
McLarenL.M. (2007), ‘Explaining opposition to Turkish membership of the EU’, European Union Politics 8(2): 251278.
PitkinH.F. (1967), The Concept of Representation, Berkeley, CA: University of California Press.
PowellG.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.
PowellG.B. and VanbergG. (2000), ‘Electoral laws, disproportionality and the left-right dimension’, British Journal of Political Science 30(3): 383411.
Rabe-HeskethS. and SkrondalA. (2012), Multilevel and Longitudinal Modelling Using Stata, 3rd edn., College Station, TX: Stata Press.
ReifK. and SchmittH. (1980), ‘Nine 2nd-order national elections – a conceptual framework for the analysis of European election results’, European Journal of Political Research 8(1): 344.
RoseR. and BorzG. (2015), ‘Static and dynamic views of European integration’, Journal of Common Market Studies 54(2): 370387.
SawardM. (2014), ‘Shape-shifting representation’, American Political Science Review 108(4): 723736.
SchmittH. and ThomassenJ.J.A. (1999), Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
SteenbergenM.R. and ScottD.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.
ThomassenJ. and SchmittH. (1999), ‘Policy congruence’, in H. Schmitt and J. Thomassen (eds), Political Representation and Legitimacy in the European Union, Oxford: Oxford University Press, pp. 186208.
TrechselA. and MairP. (2009), ‘When parties (also) position themselves: an introduction to the EU profiler’. EUI Working papers No. RSCAS 2009/65, European University Institute, Florence.
Van der BrugW., van der EijkC. and FranklinM. (2007), The Economy and the Vote: Economic Conditions in Fifteen Countries, New York: Cambridge University Press.
Van der EijkC. and FranklinM. (1991), ‘European community politics and electoral representation: evidence from the 1989 European Election Study’, European Journal of Political Research 19(1): 105127.
Van der EijkC. and FranklinM. (2004), ‘European community politics and electoral representation: evidence from the 1989 European Election Study’, European Journal of Political Research 19(1): 105127.
WallaceW. (1999), ‘The sharing of sovereignty: the European paradox’, Political Studies XLVII(3): 503521.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Italian Political Science Review / Rivista Italiana di Scienza Politica
  • ISSN: 0048-8402
  • EISSN: 2057-4908
  • URL: /core/journals/italian-political-science-review-rivista-italiana-di-scienza-politica
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Type Description Title
Supplementary Materials

Borz Dataset



Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 12
Total number of PDF views: 35 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 200 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 23rd October 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.