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Democratic Responsiveness in Comparative Perspective: How Do Democratic Governments Respond to Different Expressions of Public Opinion?

Objective

To what extent are democratic governments responsive to citizens’ demands and preferences between elections? Are governments more likely to be responsive to the interpretation of public opinion through surveys or to collective and publicly expressed opinion –generally in the form of protests? When does one ore the other type of expression prevail as a mechanism to foster governmental responsiveness? What happens when both forms of expression of the public mood are in clear contradiction? Are certain institutional and political configurations more likely to make governments more responsive to citizens’ views between elections? Are certain political configurations more conducive to governments paying attention to opinion polls while others make them more receptive to collective action claims-making? This project will answer these questions by developing a comparative study of of governmental responsiveness in established democracies between 1980 and 2010. To this purpose, we will discuss the relevant definitions of ‘governmental responsiveness’ and ‘public opinion’, and analyse data from various sources: (i) public opinion surveys, (ii) datasets with information on protest events, (iii) news reports on public moods, collective action, and governmental activity and decision-making, and (iv) comparative indicators on institutional attributes of democratic systems. In terms of the research strategy, the project will combine the analysis of a large number of cases (20 established democracies) with a more detailed study of a set of up to 7 cases. This study will provide a highly innovative approach to the representative link between citizens and governments by comparing the dynamics of democratic representation in decision-making junctures in the periods between elections for which governments cannot invoke an electoral mandate, with the dynamics that emerge in ‘normal’ policy-making situations. The project lies at the intersection of political science and sociology.

Call for proposal

ERC-2011-StG_20101124
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Host institution

FONDATION NATIONALE DES SCIENCES POLITIQUES
Address
Rue Saint Guillaume 27
75341 Paris Cedex 07
France
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 70 880
Principal investigator
Laura Morales Diez De Ulzurrun (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Marinela Popa-Babay (Mrs.)

Beneficiaries (2)

FONDATION NATIONALE DES SCIENCES POLITIQUES
France
EU contribution
€ 70 880
Address
Rue Saint Guillaume 27
75341 Paris Cedex 07
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Principal investigator
Laura Morales Diez De Ulzurrun (Dr.)
Administrative Contact
Marinela Popa-Babay (Mrs.)
UNIVERSITY OF LEICESTER

Participation ended

United Kingdom
EU contribution
€ 1 369 742
Address
University Road
LE1 7RH Leicester
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
Administrative Contact
Marie Adams (Mrs.)