249 The Challenge for Political Representation in Economic and Social Policy Making

Thursday, June 27, 2013: 2:00 PM-3:45 PM
C0.17 (Oudemanhuispoort)
European democracies largely rely on political representation to resolve and structure struggle over issues and policies. Political representation builds on the repeated and institutionalized interaction between the demand (voters) and supply sides (parties) of democratic politics. Structural changes such as post-industrialization have led to two distinct changes on the demand side, which challenge representation in the field of economic and social policy making: First, core constituencies of parties - such as the industrial working class in the case of social democratic parties - have changed in size, while new voter groups, such as labour market outsiders, emerged on the electoral market. Second, these new groups of voters have altered the stakes of representation, by putting new issues on the political agenda (e.g. welfare chauvinism and social investment). Both processes have caused political conflict on social and economic issues to unfold along new lines what further intensifies distributional struggles in times of austerity and economic crisis. This panels aims to integrate these insights from the party politics literature into the political economy literature concerned with political representation.

The changes and challenges for voters and parties build the common starting point for the papers included in the panel. Focusing on distributive politics, the panel participants investigate how structural change, political institutions and socio-economic inequalities, affect political representation. Each paper addresses a specific section of the process of political representation, looking at (a) voter preferences, (b) political institutions, (c) party strategies or (d) policy output in social and economic policy making. Collectively, the panelist thereby shed light on how changes spanning from World War II to the most recent developments have affected the many links from preferences to output – the central chain of political representation.

Silja Häusermann
David Rueda
Between Political and Economic Inequality: How Western Democracies Represent the Policy Interest of the Affluent Rather Than the Whole Population
Nathalie Giger, University of Mannheim; Julian Bernauer, University of Konstanz; Jan Rosset, University of Lausanne
New Risks, New Representation? New Social Risk Groups in Multidimensional Party Competition
Allison E. Rovny, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill; Jan Rovny, University of Gothenburg
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