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Price: $149.50

Hardback 288 pp.
156 mm x 234 mm



Publication date:
August 2014

Imprint: OUP UK

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Elections and Democracy

Representation and Accountability

Edited by Jacques Thomassen

Series : Comparative Study of Electoral Systems

Elections and Democracy addresses the contrast between two different views on representative democracy. According to the first view elections are a mechanism to hold government accountable. In the second view elections are primarily a means to ensure that citizens' views and interests are properly represented in the democratic process. The majoritarian and consensus models of democracy are the embodiment in institutional structures of these two different views of democracy. In the majoritarian view the single most important function of an election is the selection of a government. The concentration of power in the hands of an elected majority government makes it accountable to the people. In consensus models of democracy, or proportional systems, the major function of elections is to elect the members of parliament who together should be as representative as possible of the electorate as a whole. The criterion for the democratic quality of the system is how representative parliament really is.

The book explores how far these different views and their embodiment in institutional structures influence vote choice, political participation and satisfaction with the functioning of democracy. The volume is based on data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES), a comparative study across 36 countries. The general conclusion of the book is that formal political institutions are less relevant for people's attitudes and behavior than often presumed. Rather than formal political institutions like the electoral system it seems to be characteristics of the party system like polarization and the clarity of responsibility that really matter.

The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) is a collaborative program of research among election study teams from around the world. Participating countries include a common module of survey questions in their post-election studies. The resulting data are deposited along with voting, demographic, district, and macro variables. The studies are then merged into a single, free, public dataset for use in comparative study and cross-level analysis. The set of volumes in this series is based on these CSES modules, and the volumes address the key theoretical issues and empirical debates in the study of elections and representative democracy. Some of the volumes will be organized around the theoretical issues raised by a particular module, while others will be thematic in their focus. Taken together, these volumes will provide a rigorous and ongoing contribution to understanding the expansion and consolidation of democracy in the twenty-first century. Series editors: Hans-Dieter Klingemann and Ian McAllister

Readership : Suitable for scholars and students of comparative politics, political behaviour, and electoral studies.

1. Jacques Thomassen: Representation and Accountability
2. Julian Bernauer, Nathalie Giger and Adrian Vatter: New Patterns of Democracy in the Countries of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems II
3. Bernhard Wessels and Hermann Schmitt: Meaningful Choices: Does Parties' Supply Matter?
4. Diana Burlacu and Gabor Toka: Policy-based Voting and the Type of Democracy
5. Pedro Magalhães: Political Institutions and the Social Anchoring of the Vote
6. André Blais, Shane Singh and Delia Dumitrescu: Political Institutions, Perceptions of Representation, and the Turnout Decision
7. Steven Weldon and Russell Dalton: Democratic Structures and Democratic Participation: The Limits of ConsensualismTheory
8. Sören Holmberg: Feeling Policy Represented
9. David Sanders, Harold Clarke, Marianne Stewart and Paul Whiteley: Output Oriented Legitimacy: Individual and System-level Influences on Democracy Satisfaction
10. Mark Peffley and Robert Rohrschneider: The Multiple Bases of Democratic Support: Procedural Representation and Governmental Outputs
11. Kees Aarts, Jacques Thomassen and Carolien van Ham: Globalization, Representation, and Attitudes Towards Democracy
12. Eric Chang, Yun-han Chu and Wen-chin Wu: Consenting to Lose or Expecting to Win? Inter-temporal Changes in Voters' Winner-loser Status and Satisfaction with Democracy

There are no Instructor/Student Resources available at this time.

Jacques Thomassen is a member of the Netherlands Royal Academy of Arts and Sciences. His main research interests are in democratic theory, political representation, electoral behaviour and legitimacy. He is author and editor of numerous publications including The European Voter (Oxford University Press 2005), The Legitimacy of the European Union after Enlargement (Oxford University Press 2009), and (with Peter Mair) Political Representation and European Union Governance. He was a Visiting Professor at the Universities of Michigan, Harvard, Mannheim, the Australian National University and the European University Institute in Florence. He is a co-founder of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). He is Distinguished Professor of Political Science at the University of Twente.

Making Sense in the Social Sciences - Margot Northey, Lorne Tepperman and Patrizia Albanese
The Comparative Study of Electoral Systems - Edited by Hans-Dieter Klingemann
Political Parties and Democratic Linkage - Russell J. Dalton, David M. Farrell and Ian McAllister

Special Features

  • Important source of information and analysis for anyone researching democracy.
  • Based on a comparative study across 36 countries.