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On the Limits to Inequality in Representation

  • Stuart N. Soroka (a1) and Christopher Wlezien (a2)
  • DOI:
  • Published online: 01 April 2008

The correspondence between public preferences and public policy is a critical rationale for representative democratic government. This view has been put forward in the theoretical literature on democracy and representation (e.g., Dahl 1971; Pitkin 1967; Birch 1971) and in “functional” theories of democratic politics (Easton 1965; Deutsch 1963), both of which emphasize the importance of popular control of policymaking institutions. Political science research also shows a good amount of correspondence between opinion and policy, though to varying degrees, across a range of policy domains and political institutions in the U.S. and elsewhere. This is of obvious significance.Earlier versions of this paper were presented at the 2006 Annual Meetings of the American Political Science Association, Philadelphia, at the Elections, Public Opinion and Parties specialist group, Nottingham, England, and at the 2007 National Conference of the Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago. We thank Vinod Menon for assistance with data collection and Kevin Arceneaux, Suzie DeBoef, Harold Clarke, Peter Enns, Mark Franklin, Martin Gilens, John Griffin, Will Jennings, Rich Joslyn, Benjamin Page, David Sanders, David Weakliem, John Zaller, and the anonymous reviewers for comments.

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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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