Chapter

National Context and Congruence

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199652785.003.0008

Series: Comparative Politics

National Context and Congruence

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The chapter examines the influence of country characteristics on congruence. The chapter first examines the impact of political institutions in conditions of a diverse electorate, a relationship that the existing literature largely ignores. The chapter suggests that only the interplay between institutions and the characteristics of electorates can adequately capture the relevance of each. Institutions matter most when a majority of voters holds partisan loyalties, because in these conditions electorates are more divided. In contrast, institutions matter less when voters are mostly independent, because the majority of voters hold centrist ideological views. The results clearly support this argument. Second, the chapter examines the influence of national socio-economic affluence on congruence. Consistent with previous chapters, greater national affluence is associated with less party-voter agreement, which is likely the result of the greater dimensional complexity of issue spaces in more economically developed countries.

Keywords: representation; partisanship; congruence; political institutions; economic development; electorates; Europe; Western Europe; Eastern Europe

Chapter.  5559 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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