Explaining cross-national variation in the relationship between priority congruence and satisfaction with democracy

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Previous research has shown that citizens tend to be more satisfied with the functioning of democracy when their ideological positions are more proximate to representatives'. This article argues that congruence in policy priorities between citizens and political elites should have a similar effect: citizens whose concerns are shared by elites should perceive them to be more attentive and responsive to public concerns and societal needs. Yet, the relationship might vary with differences in expectations towards democracy and representation. Specifically, it should be stronger in more democratic countries and older democracies. The hypotheses are empirically tested in a multilevel regression framework, where voter survey data from the 2009 European Election Study is linked with candidate survey data. The results indicate that citizens are indeed more satisfied with democracy if elites share their concerns, and the effect increases with democratic experience.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)160-181
Number of pages22
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number1
Early online date4 Dec 2014
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2015


  • democracy
  • representation
  • satisfaction

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