Introduction: Issue Congruence and Political Responsiveness

C.U. Arnold*, M.N. Franklin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


It has long been realised that democratic governance requires a two-way flow of influence. Governments must be able to respond to what people want and people must be able to react to what governments do. These preconditions for democratic governance have been central to two research traditions on political representation. One of these, the responsible party approach, views policy change as a consequence of 'electoral turnover', while the other, the dynamic representation approach, focuses on policy change that occurs in 'rational anticipation' of electoral repercussions. The aim of this volume is to evaluate the state of political representation in contemporary Europe and to advance our understanding of the topic by presenting fresh insights both on the extent to which there exists issue congruence between voters and parties and the degree to which there is dynamic representation in the policy responses of representatives. This introduction describes in some detail the nature of the two approaches and then briefly summarises the contributions made in the remainder of the volume.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1217-1225
Number of pages8
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2012


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