DIGSSCORE Tuesday seminar

Stefaan Walgrave: Who are the politicians that sense what the people want?

Picture of Walgrave

Stefaan Walgrave, professor at Universiteit Antwerpen. Walgrave will present a paper he is working on: 

Who are the politicians that sense what the people want? Individual determinants of representatives’ perceptual accuracy.

The paper examines the accuracy of politicians’ perception of public opinion. It argues that these perceptions are a potentially important mechanism linking public opinion with actual policy output. Systematic misperceptions could hamper effective democratic representation. Empirically the study explores, drawing on a brand new dataset, whether some politicians are better at estimating public opinion than others. It basically tests whether elite politicians are better at it than backbenchers and whether accuracy varies in function of the representative role (delegate-trustee) politicians adopted. Both explanations do not hold the track. While there are clear differences in politicians’ capacity to correctly guess what the people want, there does not seem to be a strong patters that can be connected to main stream accounts of representation.

Lunch is served at first come, first served basis.