Representation in the electoral system

Theoretical considerations show that the electoral system cannot be expected to produce government that represents the values and interests of the general public. The two mechanisms advanced for the idea that the electoral system is representatives – the virtue based mechanism and the rewards based mechanism – both do not withstand scrutiny. The widespread support for the 2011 anti-government protest movement in the West indicates that in many countries the public sentiment is that government is indeed not representative.

In a 2005 paper called “Inequality and democratic responsiveness” Martin Gilens makes an empirical study of representativity:

Abstract By allowing voters to choose among candidates with competing policy orientations and by providing incentives for incumbents to shape policy in the direction the public desires, elections are thought to provide the foundation that links government policy to the preferences of the governed. In this article I examine the extent to which the preference/policy link is biased toward the preferences of high-income Americans.
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