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Ideological Representation: Achieved and Astray
Elections, Institutions, and the Breakdown of Ideological Congruence in Parliamentary Democracies

Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: May 2019
  • availability: In stock
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9781108742139


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About the Authors
  • Ideological congruence is the term generally used in comparative politics for the representative relationship between the general preferences of citizens and the perceived and stated position of government. This study provides a systematic comparative assessment of success and failure in achieving ideological congruence in nineteen developed parliamentary democracies from 1996 through to 2017. It then deconstructs the processes through which elections can connect citizens and governments into the three major stages: citizens' votes in parliamentary elections; the conversion of those votes into legislative representation; the election of prime ministers by their parliaments and the appointment of cabinet ministers. Analyzing these three stages shows that average distance from the median citizen increases at each stage, with only a few remarkable recoveries once congruence begins to go astray.

    • Deconstructs representation connection between elections and parliamentary governments into three stages: voting, legislative representation and government formation
    • Bases the analysis primarily on seventy-one elections in nineteen developed parliamentary democracies, using specific illustrative elections and statistical descriptions, public opinion surveys and party election promises
    • Shows the roles of political parties and election rules in shaping the full representation process
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    Product details

    • Date Published: May 2019
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9781108742139
    • length: 268 pages
    • dimensions: 229 x 152 x 16 mm
    • weight: 0.4kg
    • contains: 28 b/w illus. 27 tables
    • availability: In stock
  • Table of Contents

    1. Elections and ideological congruence in parliamentary democracies
    2. The (rocky) paths to government congruence: three stages
    3. Party systems as contexts
    4. Incongruence at stage I: starting out on or off the path to ideological congruence
    5. Congruence failures at stage II: votes into seats – disproportionality and the distance of the median legislative party
    6. Forming governments: stage III failure – distance of the governments
    7. A special analysis problem at stage III: minority governments
    8. The costs of ideological congruence: achieving and achieved
    9. Representation in parliamentary democracies: when does congruence go astray?

  • Author

    G. Bingham Powell, Jr, University of Rochester, New York
    G. Bingham Powell, Jr is the Marie C. and Joseph C. Wilson Professor of Political Science at the University of Rochester, New York. He served as President of the American Political Science Association from 2011 to 2012 and as Managing Editor of the American Political Science Review from 1991 to 1995. He is the co-author and co-editor of the leading undergraduate comparative politics text, Comparative Politics Today (2014).

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