Andrea Fumarola: Responsive to whom? Representative-voter congruence on views of accountability
Political parties are considered the most important actors in the accumulation or articulation of interests in the representational process and have a key function as a democratic linkage. Parliaments are, instead, the main institution in which representation takes place and where debates about (conflicting) interests happen. For this reason, analyzing the correspondence between citizens’ and elite’s opinion – i.e. their congruence – becomes dramatically relevant for the study of political representation. Agreement between political parties and citizens, or citizens and parliament, has, however, increasingly been analyzed only recently, even if their importance in the representational process is of utmost importance.
Using data from the Panel of Elected Representatives and the Norwegian Citizens Panel, the present research project focuses on representatives’ views of accountability and how these attitudes relate to those of their voters. Its goal is twofold. On the one hand, changing the perspective traditionally adopted in the literature on democratic representation, it aims to focus on elected representatives’ perceptions of government accountability. On the other hand, it aims to assess the level of congruence between voters and elites on their views about government accountability considered in its double essence (i.e. prospective vs. retrospective).