Unpacking the Convergence Model

Ian Budge, Hans Keman, Michael McDonald and Paul Pennings

in Organizing Democratic Choice

Published in print June 2012 | ISBN: 9780199654932
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780191741685 | DOI:

Series: Comparative Politics

Unpacking the Convergence Model

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The reason why convergence fails as an explanation of representational processes at work is that it blurs or ignores points which are quite crucial in applying it to the real world such as the identity and continuity of political parties. Similarly the model assumes that parties can adjust policy flexibly and incrementally during a campaign, without considering that policy is tied to, and constrained by, the authoritative statement of policy parties make before the election – the platform or manifesto. Other crucial distinctions that get blurred are those between actual policy and government targets: internal party factions: non-policy voting: the ‘paradox of the platform’ and ‘coalitions of minorities’: voters and electors. These distinctions all need to be incorporated into any realistic model of election and representational processes such as the ones below. The chapter ends by considering how this deconstruction of the Downsian assumptions affects our dependent variable – policy representation, as measured by congruence, neutrality and responsiveness.

Keywords: Downsian deconstruction; party continuity; policy targets; actual policy; representation

Chapter.  7909 words. 

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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