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Elections and DemocracyRepresentation and Accountability$
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Jacques Thomassen

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780198716334

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198716334.001.0001

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Political Institutions, Perceptions of Representation, and the Turnout Decision

Political Institutions, Perceptions of Representation, and the Turnout Decision

(p.99) 6 Political Institutions, Perceptions of Representation, and the Turnout Decision
Elections and Democracy

André Blais

Shane Singh

Delia Dumitrescu

Oxford University Press

Individuals who feel that a party represents their interests are more likely to participate in elections. This chapter examines the macro-level sources of perceptions of representation. The chapter finds that individuals are more likely to feel represented by a party in countries with proportional electoral systems, and the link between electoral system proportionality and turnout is mediated by the ideological polarization of the party system. The chapter further finds that, while turnout is more likely in proportional systems, this link is largely due to the positive relationship between proportionality and the likelihood of feeling represented. The effect of electoral proportionality on turnout is mediated by an individual’s likelihood of identifying a party that represents his or her views and other political attitudes.

Keywords:   Turnout, representation, electoral systems, party system polarization

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