Redistribution and Responsiveness: Do Governments Represent Middle Class Voter Demand?
However, scholars increasingly doubt government responsiveness. This lack of democratic responsiveness is seen to originate in influential business organizations (Bartels 2006, Hacker/Pierson 2010) or in the ways in which the political institutions transform voter demand and direct the middle class’ coalitional interests. Especially electoral institutions are important explanations on how middle class or median voter demand gets transformed into politics (McDonald/Budge 2005; Iversen/Soskice 2006; Warwick 2011). Majoritarian or proportional majority rules result in different representation quality and set different incentives for the middle class and the coalitions it seeks.
Starting from this literature, the paper examines the gap between electorate and government and the role of middle class coalitions:
- How much are preferences of the electorate and especially of the middle class voter taken into account by governments?
- Is the quality of responsiveness actually distinct in majoritarian and proportional systems – meaning better representation of the median voters political position? Do proportional election systems indeed generate more left coalitions?
- Which other features of the political systems explain the size of “deviations” of governments from the voter’s political preferences?
- How likely are cross-class coalitions between the middle class and the poor? The paper shows that the middle class seeks different coalitions, also conservative ones.
- What are the drawbacks of the data and which further research is needed?
Finally the consequences for redistribution accounts are discussed. The analysis is based on data provided by the Comparative Manifesto Project (CMP)/ MARPOR (WZB) and survey-data from ISSP or ESS. Descriptive and multivariate methods are applied.