The virtuous circle of representation
Theoretical and empirical research shows that political representation is a dynamic process repeatedly connecting citizens and political elites. However, less is known about how citizens alone experience the process of political representation and connect electoral participation with representation. This article combines different literatures pertaining to the representative process in a dynamic framework. It explores causality between electoral participation and perceived responsiveness in citizens’ minds using unique panel data. By arguing for two-way causality and the existence of a virtuous circle, the article refines the concepts’ relationship beyond traditional conceptions that currently dominate the literatures on electoral behaviour and participatory democracy. The results indicate that the representative process may be a self-sustaining experience for citizens over time.
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Kölln, A. (2016). The virtuous circle of representation. Electoral Studies, 42, 126-134