Jan Rosset, Nathalie Giger, Julian Bernauer
More Money, Fewer Problems? Cross-Level Effects of Economic Deprivation on Political Representation

West European Politics, 2013: 36, Heft 4, S. 817-835
ISSN: 0140-2382 (print); 1743-9655 (online)

While equal political representation of all citizens is a fundamental democratic goal, it is hampered empirically in a multitude of ways. This study examines how the societal level of economic inequality affects the representation of relatively poor citizens by parties and governments. Using CSES survey data for citizens’ policy preferences and expert placements of political parties, empirical evidence is found that in economically more unequal societies, the party system represents the preferences of relatively poor citizens worse than in more equal societies. This moderating effect of economic equality is also found for policy congruence between citizens and governments, albeit slightly less clear-cut.