The Symbolic Benefits of Descriptive and Substantive Representation

The Symbolic Benefits of Descriptive and Substantive Representation One of the major challenges in providing quality representation comes from the desire to balance the will of the majority with the needs of political minorities. Of particular importance is whether substantive or descriptive representation are necessary to create symbolic representation and perceptions that government outcomes are fair and legitimate. In this paper, we employ a novel experimental design to investigate how citizens feel about the relative importance of descriptive and substantive representation. Drawing on data from a nationally representative sample and two supplemental experiments, we show that citizens value descriptive representation independently of substantive representation. We also demonstrate that the degree of descriptive representation desired is conditional on the nature of the policy being considered. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Political Behavior Springer Journals

The Symbolic Benefits of Descriptive and Substantive Representation

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Publisher
Springer US
Copyright
Copyright © 2016 by Springer Science+Business Media New York
Subject
Political Science and International Relations; Political Science; Sociology, general
ISSN
0190-9320
eISSN
1573-6687
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11109-016-9345-9
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

One of the major challenges in providing quality representation comes from the desire to balance the will of the majority with the needs of political minorities. Of particular importance is whether substantive or descriptive representation are necessary to create symbolic representation and perceptions that government outcomes are fair and legitimate. In this paper, we employ a novel experimental design to investigate how citizens feel about the relative importance of descriptive and substantive representation. Drawing on data from a nationally representative sample and two supplemental experiments, we show that citizens value descriptive representation independently of substantive representation. We also demonstrate that the degree of descriptive representation desired is conditional on the nature of the policy being considered.

Journal

Political BehaviorSpringer Journals

Published: May 13, 2016

References

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