Article

Public Opinion and Public Policy in Advanced Democracies

Christopher Wlezien

in Political Science

ISBN: 9780199756223
Published online November 2011 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/obo/9780199756223-0045
Public Opinion and Public Policy in Advanced Democracies

More Like This

Show all results sharing these subjects:

  • Politics
  • Comparative Politics
  • Political Institutions
  • Political Methodology
  • Political Theory

GO

Preview

The representation of public opinion in public policy is of obvious importance in representative democracies. While public opinion is important in all political systems, it is especially true where voters elect politicians; after all, opinion representation is a primary justification for representative democracy. Not surprisingly, a lot of research addresses the connection between the public and the government. Much of the work considers “descriptive representation”—whether the partisan and demographic characteristics of elected politicians match the characteristics of the electorate itself. This descriptive representation is important but may not produce actual “substantive representation” of preferences in policy. Other work examines the positions of policymakers. Some of this research assesses the roll call voting behavior of politicians and institutions. The expressed positions and voting behavior of political actors do relate to policy but are not the same things. Fortunately, a good amount of research analyzes policy. With but a handful of exceptions noted below, this research focuses on expressed preferences of the public, not their “interests.” That is, virtually all scholars let people be the judges of their own interests, and they assess the representation of expressed opinion no matter how contrary to self-interest it may seem.

Article.  10452 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; Comparative Politics ; Political Institutions ; Political Methodology ; Political Theory

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribeRecommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »