The Thermostatic Model of Representation Reviewed
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Book reviewed: Degrees of Democracy. Politics, Public Opinion, and Policy. Stuart N. Soroka and Christopher Wlezien (eds.) (New York, Cambridge University Press, 2010), 241pp., ISBN: 978 0 5216 8789 8
The reciprocal relationship between public opinion and public policy is one major concern in the study of democratic representation. One key characteristic of a representative democracy is policy responsiveness (Dahl, 1971: 1), which aims for a relatively close correspondence between government policies and public preferences (Lijphart, 1984: 2). In order to evaluate the democratic performance of a representative government, scholars focus on the government's ability to fulfill this responsiveness function. Typically, researchers ask whether or not government policies reflect public preferences and how consistently they do this.
Giving an answer to this question and more is also the main concern of Stuart N. Soroka and Christopher Wlezien in Degrees of Democracy. The authors set their...
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