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Elitism, Populism, and European Politics$
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Jack Hayward

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780198280354

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/0198280351.001.0001

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‘Losing Touch’ In a Democracy: Demands versus Needs

‘Losing Touch’ In a Democracy: Demands versus Needs

(p.33) 2 ‘Losing Touch’ In a Democracy: Demands versus Needs
Elitism, Populism, and European Politics

Robert E. Lane

Oxford University Press

The delegate theory of representation emphasizes responsiveness to public demands, while the trustee theory stresses response to public needs. Delegate theory, based on evaluative individualism, assumes that each person should decide in a market‐based context. In practice, such reliance is often more disruptive and less humane than reliance on needs. Compared to political elites, mass publics are less interested in politics, less tolerant of conflicting opinions and disliked groups, more nationalistic, less able to weigh policy costs, and more unstable and inconsistent.

Keywords:   delegate theory, elites, individualism, mass publics, policy costs, public demands, public needs, representation, trustee theory

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