Representations and accountability

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13 Citations (Scopus)


This introductory chapter presents the conceptual framework of the book and summarizes its main findings. The book examines the contrast between the view that elections are a mechanism to hold government accountable and the idea that they are a means to ensure that citizens’ views and interests are properly represented in the democratic process. It considers the extent to which this contrast and its embodiment in institutional structures affect vote choice, political participation, and satisfaction with the functioning of democracy. The book is largely based on data from the second module of the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES). The main conclusion the book comes to states that formal political institutions are less relevant for people’s attitudes and behaviour than often thought. Rather than formal political institutions like the electoral system, it appears to be characteristics of the party system like polarization and the clarity of responsibility that are really important.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationElections and democracy: representation and accountability
EditorsJacques Thomassen
Place of PublicationOxford
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages19
ISBN (Print)9780198716334
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • Accountability
  • Representation
  • Elections
  • Models of democracy
  • Electoral systems
  • Democratic institutions


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