From Electoral to Policy Representation: A Comparison of 34 Democracies

ECOPOL, Sciences Po, Paris, 2007

27 Pages Posted: 22 Apr 2008 Last revised: 1 Mar 2019

Date Written: February 1, 2007


This study investigates the extent to which contemporary democracies are representative of the policy preferences expressed by the majority of electors, parties and governments there in. The analysis concentrates on parties' and governments' manifestos in 34 democracies with data provided by the Manifesto Research Group (MRG) project database. It emphasizes the importance of policy representation as a useful conceptual tool for the study of democracy, as well as the role that ideas, discourses and interaction play in the process of institution-building. The investigation also clusters countries on the basis of the correspondence between the ideological distances and policy preferences existent in the political system. The resulting classification distinguishes four groups of distinct democracies: strong policy representative, weak policy representative, strong policy unrepresentative and weak policy unrepresentative democracies.

Keywords: political systems, Europe, electoral democracy, electoral representation, policy representation, USA, Russia

Suggested Citation

Cerami, Alfio, From Electoral to Policy Representation: A Comparison of 34 Democracies (February 1, 2007). ECOPOL, Sciences Po, Paris, 2007 , Available at SSRN:

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