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Are the Policy Preferences of Relatively Poor Citizens Under-represented in the Swiss Parliament?
Journal of Legislative Studies
The principle of equal political representation can be undermined by differences in economic resources among citizens. Poor citizens are likely to hold policy preferences that differ from those of richer citizens. At the same time, their lack of resources can have as a consequence that these preferences are not taken into consideration by their representatives. Focusing on the case of the Swiss Parliament and using survey data on the opinions of citizens and MPs in the 2007-2011 legislature, this study investigates whether the income of citizens systematically affects the proximity of their policy preferences with stances of their representatives. It demonstrates that on economic issues MPs hold preferences that are generally less in favour of the state's intervention in the economy than the median citizen and that relatively poor citizens are less well represented as compared to citizens with high incomes. This remains true when taking into account only the opinions of the most knowledgeable citizens among these groups as well as when the focus is only on those who turned out to vote.
Political representation, income , National Council , Policy congurence, Switzerland
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