Hva innebærer det å være en folkevalgt politiker? Representantpanelet skal brukes til å besvare viktige spørsmål om hvordan demokratiet vårt fungerer.


Representantpanelet skal brukes til å besvare viktige spørsmål om hvordan demokratiet vårt fungerer.

Spørsmålene i undersøkelsen omhandler blant annet politiske problemstillinger, kontakt med velgere og ulike grupper i samfunnet, samt oppfatningen av rollen som folkevalgt. Fremtidige spørsmål kan dreie seg om eksempelvis folkevalgtes relasjon til ulike styringsnivå og syn på viktige reformer.

Forskere vil bare ha tilgang til de innsamlede dataene og får ikke tilgang til direkte identifiserbare data. Det originale datasettet vil bli lagret på en sikker måte og blir ikke gjort offentlig tilgjengelig. Deltagere i undersøkelsen vil ikke være identifiserbare i de vitenskapelige publikasjonene som følger av dette prosjektet. Les mer om databehandling og personvern her.

Forsningsprosjekter og publikasjoner basert på Representantpanelet:

Koordinerte onlinepaneler

I denne spesialutgaven av Norsk statsvitenskapelig tidsskrift er det samlet flere artikler om resultatene fra pilotprosjektet av koordinerte online paneler for forskning på demokrati og styresett (KODEM).

Procedural Congruence and the Delegate-Trustee Dilemma

Authors: Sveinung Arnesen, Troy Saghaug Broderstad, Mikael Johannesson and Jonas Linde

There is a well-known tension between the role of representatives as either trustees or delegates. This tension is also present when representatives interpret advisory direct democratic procedures. Should the representatives follow the opinions of their voters, or should they follow their own convictions? Previous research has shown that the legitimacy of a majority-rule procedure, as perceived by the general population, is dependent on the turnout, the size of majority, and the favorability of the outcome. In this article, we investigate whether elected representatives assess referendum results differently from their voters. To study this form of elite-citizen procedural congruence, we compare a survey experiment sent to all elected representatives in Norway (N=4231) with a probability-based survey of the general population (N= 1568). Using an EU membership referendum as a case of majority-rule, our results demonstrate a high degree of elite-citizen congruence, with one exception: The representatives display stronger outcome favorability bias when they are faced with an unfavorable referendum outcome. These findings have important implications for our understanding of when and how decision-making procedures are implemented and followed. 

Support for Electoral System Reform among Voters and Politicians. Studying Information Effect through Survey Experiments

Authors: Sveinung Arnesen, Johannes Bergh, Dag Arne Christensen, and Bernt Aardal

Published: Electoral Studies, Volume 71, June 2021

Does information about the consequences of proposals to change the parliamentary electoral system influence voters' and representatives' attitudes to the system? Is the willingness to accept change greater among voters/representatives who “lose” under the present electoral system? These questions are illuminated using empirical data from two identical survey experiments, with both voters and politicians about 1) increased proportionality between parties (more seats for smaller parties) and 2) increased geographical proportionality (stronger representation for the more populous counties). The results show that being informed about the consequences of the proposals has a major effect on voters’ and politicians’ attitudes. This applies especially to the question of increased proportionality between parties, where feedback was particularly negative from respondents who were told that the proposal might weaken the larger parties’ representation and make it more difficult to establish viable governments. The responses to the question about increased proportionality between parties were also conditioned by partisanship; whether the politicians belonged to or voters voted for one of the smaller parties in the 2017 parliamentary election. This effect is especially clear among politicians. We also find that there is limited support for the proposal to distribute parliamentary seats according to the number of inhabitants in the counties, and this support is further reduced when the respondents are informed that the measure will increase representation from the more populous parts of the country.

What do Representatives Represent? Gender Bias in the Assessment of Public Opinion

Authors: Andrea Fumarola & Yvette Peters

Democratic governments are generally fairly responsive towards their citizens. At the same time, studies demonstrated that they are not always equally responsive to all citizens: some people are better represented than others. One element in explaining this inequality is representatives’ accurate information about what citizens want. Whether using their own background or citizens’ participation as a source to learn about people’s preferences, representatives’ views may be biased exactly because of who they are or who the participants are. Regardless, the outcome would be that representatives might reflect some citizens’ opinions better than others. Here we examine whether representatives’ knowledge about their party voters’ preferences is correct and unbiased. Using data from the first round of the Panel of Elected Representatives in Norway and matching opinion data from the Norwegian citizen panel, we examine whether legislators’ assessments are correct and whether it reflects different groups in society equally. We find that representatives are quite accurate in assessing their voters’ preferences, overall. Moreover, we find that legislators reflect preferences of men better than that of women. Further, representatives’ own preference strongly predicts their accurateness: the more negative they are about an issue, the more likely they are to underestimate support for it.

Responsive to whom? Representative-voter congruence on views of responsiveness

Author: Andrea Fumarola

Political parties are the most important actors in the accumulation or articulation of interests in the representational process and have a key function as a democratic linkage, while parliament is 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 paper focuses on representatives’ views of responsiveness and how these attitudes relate to those of their voters. Much of the existing research on congruence has been descriptive, comparing elites with 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 responsiveness. On the other hand, it aims to investigate the level of congruence between voters and elites on their views about government responsiveness considered in its double essence, i.e. mandate or policy responsiveness.

Gender Quotas with Twin Goals: Why new arguments and application areas may affect views positively

Authors: Ragnhild Muriaas and Yvette Peters

What change opinions about gender quotas? While decisions made by a body that is more gender balanced are seen as more legitimate, gender quotas as a means to reach gender balance is contested. Increased positive attention to how the society may benefit from gender quotas and the diffusion of gender quotas into new institutional domains, like business and religious boards, have however a potential to change opinions. We study Norway — a country with pronounced variation in support for gender quotas along an economic cleavage — and find through a survey experiment of citizens and elected representatives that the opinion of some sub-groups are affected when they hear that gender quotas should apply to religious boards or that boards may lose insights without such interventions in the recruitment process. We interpret these findings to mean that support for gender quotas may increase also in context where both citizens and elected representatives tend to have fixed views on a contested issue like gender quotas if the intervention is framed as one of two twin goals where one of those goals go beyond women’s rights.

Digital Inequality and Democratic Representation: Voters and Representatives in the Age of Internet

Author: Trajche Panov

Digital Inequality and Democratic Representation: Voters and Representatives in the Age of Internet analyses how digital inequality affects democratic representation. It develops and critically discusses novel theoretical perspectives on the role of the Internet in political processes. I argue that that the internet has an impact on the legitimacy of the decision-making processes, and its effects are felt among both voters and elected representatives. For the first time, this book does not focus uniquely on voters and political candidates, but provides also a novel empirical analysis of digital inequalities among elected representatives and of the effects of the Internet on political accountability. This book argues that that the Internet does not help in decreasing the already existing inequalities in societies. All individuals with better socio-economic status and personal skills, no matter whether they are voters or representatives, are more likely to derive benefits from the Internet than individuals and social groups with lower skills. Thus, the internet can contribute to holding political representatives accountable only to a certain extent. By means of an innovative methodological approach and original data collection that combines survey experiments, my study demonstrates that digital inequalities are deeply imbedded in pre-existing social stratifications and that the online political participation of both voters and elected representatives reflects these inequalities. The internet generates the perception of (or “The internet causes”) a decrease in political accountability, although it provides more powerful and pervasive communication channels.

Congruence on representational practice? Matching citizens' and representatives' expectations of how representation should work

Authors: Yvette Peters and Rudy B. Andeweg

Research on political representation has developed greatly over the past decades. We now know more about the extent to which representatives hold similar preferences as citizens, how responsive policies are to public opinion, and that some groups in society tend to be sometimes better represented than other. One thing that we know less about, however, is to what extent citizens and representatives actually hold similar preferences on how that very object of study—political representation—should work. An emphasis on representational and decision-making procedures will help us understand what representative structures and practices will contribute to increased political legitimacy. As many citizens display a growing distrust to politics, a distrust in current representational institutions, and also express preferences for alternative decision-making structures (e.g. direct democracy, as well as a disregard of minorities), it is especially crucial to learn more about how citizens and representatives believe that the representative model of democracy should be working. Using the Norwegian Citizen Panel and Panel of Elected Representatives, we asked citizens and elected representatives questions about their ideas on the function of elections and the working of representation. We examine to what extent representatives hold similar opinions as citizens, and explore what determines these views.

Det samiske sivilsamfunnet i Sametinget og i samepolitikken i Sametingsvalg: Tilhørighet, deltakelse, partipolitikk

Authors: Per Selle and Kristin Strømsnes

Published: Cappelen Damm Akademisk, 2021

Sametingsvalg: Tilhørighet, deltakelse, partipolitikk er den tredje i en rekke av studier av sametingsvalg i Norge. Med utgangspunkt i velgerundersøkelser og kvalitative studier behandler boka ulike sider ved sametingsvalg generelt og valget i 2017 spesielt. Gjennom ni kapitler ser boka både på velgeradferd og valgresultat og på mer grunnleggende spørsmål om samepolitikkens oppbygging. Kapittel 4: Det samiske sivilsamfunnet i Sametinget og i samepolitikken bruker data om sametingsrepresentantene fra Representantpanelet for å se på forholdet mellom Sametinget og det samiske sivilsamfunnet. De finner at samisk interesse og deltakelse i sivilsamfunnet er på samme nivå som i det øvrige samfunnet når de måler deltakelse i samiske og norske organisasjoner, men at kontakten mellom partiene i Sametinget og sivilsamfunnsorganisasjoner er begrenset. De konkluderer med at det samiske sivilsamfunnets politiske rolle er svak, noe som er en utfordring for det samiske politiske systemet og demokratiet.

National Policies, Local Effects: Explaining Support for Municipal Mergers

Published: Saktuelt, 2019

We analyzed individual local politicians’ support for mergers using survey data from the Panel of Elected Representatives (PER). Norwegian politicians were asked to rank their level of support for future mergers on a seven-point scale. The findings show that local politicians are not always in line with their party’s official position. Party affiliation matters for local politicians’ support for mergers, but pragmatic interests at the local level should moderate this support. We can see from the distribution of Labor politicians’ that many of them are not in line with their party’s official stance. This variation in support is important to explain as the Labor party has a huge local presence, currently controlling almost half (47%) of all mayorships in the country.

Do locally elected representatives follow their party or their local electorates?

Authors: Arjan Schakel