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Do politicians’ preferences correspond to those of the voters? An investigation of political representation

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  • Hanna Ågren

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  • Matz Dahlberg
  • Eva Mörk

Abstract

This paper investigates political representation by exploring the relationship between citizens' preferences and the preferences of their elected representatives. Using Swedish survey data, the empirical analysis shows that voters and politicians have significantly different preferences for local welfare services, implying that voters do not elect representatives with the same preferences as their own. The results show that when comparing a politician of a certain age, gender, educational level and marital status, with a voter with identical characteristics, the politician still has preferences for a significantly higher level of spending on the locally provided services. Hence, our results indicate that the representation of different socio-economic groups does not necessarily lead to a larger degree of representation of these groups' agendas. Moreover, we find the observed difference to be largest for the least salient expenditure item. We do, however, not find any evidence for differences in preferences between the two groups being associated with a decline in trust for politicians among voters. Copyright Springer Science + Business Media B.V. 2007

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Springer in its journal Public Choice.

Volume (Year): 130 (2007)
Issue (Month): 1 (January)
Pages: 137-162

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Handle: RePEc:kap:pubcho:v:130:y:2007:i:1:p:137-162

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Web page: http://www.springerlink.com/link.asp?id=100332

Related research

Keywords: Political representation; Local public services; Survey data; Voters’ and politicians' preferences;

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  1. Sendhil Mullainathan & Marianne Bertrand, 2001. "Do People Mean What They Say? Implications for Subjective Survey Data," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 91(2), pages 67-72, May.
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  3. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1997. "An Economic Model of Representative Democracy," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(1), pages 85-114, February.
  4. Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva & Ågren, Hanna, 2004. "Do Politicians’ Preferences Correspond to those of the Voters? An Investigation of Political Representation," Working Paper Series 2004:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. White, Halbert, 1980. "A Heteroskedasticity-Consistent Covariance Matrix Estimator and a Direct Test for Heteroskedasticity," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 48(4), pages 817-38, May.
  6. Svaleryd, Helena, 2002. "Femal Representation - Is it Important for Policy Decisions?," Research Papers in Economics 2002:7, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  7. Levitt, Steven D, 1996. "How Do Senators Vote? Disentangling the Role of Voter Preferences, Party Affiliation, and Senate Ideology," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 86(3), pages 425-41, June.
  8. Timothy Besley & Anne Case, 2003. "Political Institutions and Policy Choices: Evidence from the United States," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 41(1), pages 7-73, March.
  9. Raghabendra Chattopadhyay & Esther Duflo, 2004. "Women as policy makers: Evidence from a randomized policy experiment in india," Framed Field Experiments 00224, The Field Experiments Website.
  10. Alesina, Alberto, 1988. "Credibility and Policy Convergence in a Two-Party System with Rational Voters," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 78(4), pages 796-805, September.
  11. Ahlin, Åsa & Johansson, Eva, 2001. "Individual demand for local public schooling: Evidence from Swedish survey data," Working Paper Series 2001:1, IFAU - Institute for Evaluation of Labour Market and Education Policy.
  12. David S. Lee & Enrico Moretti & Matthew J. Butler, 2004. "Do Voters Affect Or Elect Policies? Evidence from the U. S. House," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 119(3), pages 807-859, August.
  13. Osborne, Martin J & Slivinski, Al, 1996. "A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 111(1), pages 65-96, February.
  14. Pettersson-Lidbom , Per, 2003. "Do Parties Matter for Fiscal Policy Choices? A Regression-Discontinuity Approach," Research Papers in Economics 2003:15, Stockholm University, Department of Economics.
  15. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 2003. "Centralized versus decentralized provision of local public goods: a political economy approach," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(12), pages 2611-2637, December.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Aronsson, Thomas & Blomquist, Sören, 2004. "Redistribution and Provision of Public Goods in an Economic Federation," Working Paper Series 2004:4, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  2. Ahlin, Åsa & Mörk, Eva, 2008. "Effects of decentralization on school resources," Economics of Education Review, Elsevier, vol. 27(3), pages 276-284, June.
  3. Dahlberg, Matz & Mörk, Eva & Ågren, Hanna, 2004. "Do Politicians’ Preferences Correspond to those of the Voters? An Investigation of Political Representation," Working Paper Series 2004:2, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  4. Österholm, Pär, 2004. "Estimating the Relationship between Age Structure and GDP in the OECD Using Panel Cointegration Methods," Working Paper Series 2004:13, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  5. Jakobsson, Niklas, 2009. "Why do you want lower taxes? Preferences regarding municipal income tax rates," Working Papers in Economics 345, University of Gothenburg, Department of Economics.
  6. Enriqueta Aragonès & Santiago Sánchez-Pagés, 2010. "The disadvantage of winning an election," UFAE and IAE Working Papers 811.10, Unitat de Fonaments de l'Anàlisi Econòmica (UAB) and Institut d'Anàlisi Econòmica (CSIC).
  7. Nordin, Mattias, 2009. "The effect of information on voting behavior," Working Paper Series 2009:14, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  8. Sören Blomquist & Vidar Christiansen, 2004. "Taxation and Heterogeneous Preferences," CESifo Working Paper Series 1244, CESifo Group Munich.
  9. Revelli Federico & Tovmo Per, 2006. "Declared vs. revealed yardstick competition:Local government efficiency in Norway," Department of Economics and Statistics Cognetti de Martiis. Working Papers 200605, University of Turin.
  10. Mörk, Eva & Ahlin, Åsa, 2007. "Effects of decentralization on school resources: Sweden 1989-2002," Working Paper Series 2007:9, Uppsala University, Department of Economics.
  11. Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2012. "A comparative analysis of the voting behavior of constituents and their representatives for public debts," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 244-260, September.

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