The elites–masses gap in European integration

Wolfgang C. Müller, Marcelo Jenny and Alejandro Ecker

in The Europe of Elites

Published in print March 2012 | ISBN: 9780199602315
Published online May 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191738951 | DOI:

Series: IntUne

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The chapter makes one conceptual and one empirical contribution to the study of the elite–masses gap in European integration. While most research focuses on substantive representation of voter opinions by MPs, under the ‘issue congruence paradigm’ we consider the entire chain of delegation from voters, to MPs, to governments. Representation gaps are measured as resulting from the two-step aggregation process of preferences typical for party democracies (first step within and the second between political parties). Specifically, the chapter looks at key projects towards a fully integrated Europe, such as common European foreign-, defence-, social security-, and tax-policy, and EU cohesion policy, that are already in place, agreed in principle, or are prominent when deepening European integration is the aim. Of the 15 countries covered in this book, the gaps are particularly large in Britain, Denmark, Germany, and Austria in Western Europe, and Estonia and Poland in Eastern Europe.

Keywords: elite–masses gap; mass–elite congruence; policy congruence; European integration; median voter; median member of parliament; median government MP; political delegation; preference aggregation; representation gap

Chapter.  9855 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union ; Comparative Politics

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