Robert Rohrschneider and Stephen Stephen

in The Strain of Representation

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199652785
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780191744907 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics


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This chapter focuses on the second representational criterion — the extent to which parties produce coherent programs. The empirical focus is on differences between West and East. While there is programmatic structure in both regions, important regional differences emerge — issues are more tightly packaged in the East on one dimension, while ‘new politics’ emerges as a distinct dimension in the West. Issues of European integration complicate programmatic structure further, especially in the West. The findings, therefore, contradict some expectations about convergence in programmatic structure across the regions as markets and democracy become embedded in post-Communist states. Finally, there is evidence that programmatic structures tend to be weaker where partisan identification is lower and where economic development is higher, which points again towards greater representational strain for parties, who deal with diverse voters by offering less clearly defined and more complicated programs to the electorate.

Keywords: representation; party programs; new politics; European integration; partisanship; Western Europe; Eastern Europe; economic development; dealignment

Chapter.  7713 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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