Bridging the theoretical framework and the subsequent empirical analysis, this chapter introduces the conceptual tools of the study. Since the book is one of the first to systematically analyze the representative behavior of local councilors, the broader relevance of this chapter lies in adapting the conceptual tools developed for the study of national legislators to the context of local government. While the research on representative behavior of national legislators has recently experienced major advances in understanding different aspect of behavior and its motivations, a similar research agenda at the local level is hampered by the scarcity of theoretically elaborated conceptual tools, including a more differentiated understanding of councilor behavior and the instruments of local political group leadership control.
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