Representation at national and European level (SSSUP-Unisi-Unifi-Unipi, PhD, 2017)


Academic Year 2016-17

Representation at national and European level

Francesco Marangoni, University of Siena (

Federico Russo, University of Salento (

Monday: 11 a.m.-1 p.m.



Aims and scope

The aim of this course is to reflect on the elusive concept of political representation, which despite its elusiveness remains essential to the empirical theory of democracy. Representing literally means making present, in some way, something that is actually absent. Our democracies are “representative” because they are marked by the crucial tension between the principle of popular sovereignty and the necessity to entrust a limited number of people with the task of making public decisions. Based on different streams of literature political scientists have adopted fairly heterogeneous ways to study political representation, each of which is underpinned by a different conception of what representation is. This course offers to Ph.D. students the opportunity to critically engage with some of these approaches, studying their theoretical foundations and examining some empirical researchers inspired by them.



Students will be evaluated based on their active participation in class sessions (10%), weekly short reaction papers to assigned readings (40%) and on a final assignment (50%). Students are expected to come to class prepared to discuss issues raised in the assigned (core) readings. Please, read the assigned material before class on the date they are listed. Reaction papers must be submitted to the instructors as an email attachment by 12 am on Sunday, the day before we meet. A reaction paper should include a brief summary of the arguments and evidence used and a critical evaluation of either the method of analysis or the argument itself (reaction papers will be discussed in class).The final assignment consists of a detailed plan (about 3000 words) to write a paper contributing to one or more of the theoretical and empirical debates related to the topics of the course.


Calendar and readings


8th May (Marangoni and Russo)
Course introduction. The concept of representation from Pitkin to Mansbridge



15th May (Marangoni)

Representation as delegation (and accountability)

Core readings

  • Lupia, A. and McCubbins, M.[2000], Representation or Abdication? How citizens use institutions to help delegation succeed, «European Journal of Political Research», Vol. 37: 291-307.
  • Martin, L.W., and Vanberg, G., [2005], Coalition Policymaking and Legislative Review, «American Political Science Review», Vol.99: 93-106 (RP)
  • Mueller, W.C., and Meyer, T.M., [2010], Meeting the Challenges of Representation and Accountability in Multi-party Governments, «West European Politics», Vol.33:1065-1092
  • Piattoni, S., [2013], Representation as delegation: a basis for EU democracy?, «Journal of European Public Policy», Vol.20, pp.224-242
  • Strøm, K. [2000]:Delegation and accountability in parliamentary democracies, «European Journal of Political Research», Vol.37: 261-289


Recommended readings

  • Fox, J., and Shotts, K.W., [2009], Delegates or trustees? A theory of political accountability, «Journal of Politics», Vol.71: 1225-1237
  • Maskin, E. and Tirole, J., [2004], The Politician and the Judge: Accountability in Government, «American Economic Review», Vol.94: 1034-1055
  • Miller, G. [2005], The Political Evolution of Principal-Agent Models, «Annual review of Political Science», Vol. 8:203-225
  • Thies, M. F., [2001], Keeping Tabs on Partners: The Logic of Delegation in Coalition Governments, «American Journal of Political Science», Vol. 45: 580-598.


22nd May (Russo)
Personal representation

Core readings

  • Broockman, D.E., [2013]. Black Politicians Are More Intrinsically Motivated to Advance Blacks’ Interests: A Field Experiment Manipulating Political Incentives, «American Journal of Political Science», Vo.57, pp. 521–536. (RP)
  • Eulau, H., Karps, P.D., [1977]. The Puzzle of Representation: Specifying Components of Responsiveness. Legislative Studies Quarterly 2, 233.
  • Hill, K.Q. e Hurley, P.A. [1999], Dyadic Representation Reappraised, «American Journal of Political Science», Vol.43, pp. 109-137.
  • Thomassen, J.J.A. e Andweg, R.B. [2004]. Beyond collective representation: individual members of parliament and interest representation in the Netherlands, in «The Journal of Legislative Studies», Vol.10, pp. 47-69


Recommended readings

  • Martin, S., [2011], Using Parliamentary Questions to Measure Constituency Focus: An Application to the Irish Case, «Political Studies», Vol.59, pp. 472-488.
  • Saalfeld, T., Bischof, D., [2013]. Minority-Ethnic MPs and the Substantive Representation of Minority Interests in the House of Commons, 2005–2011. Parliamentary Affairs 66, 305–328.


29th May (Marangoni/Russo)

Congruence, representation and agenda setting


Core readings

  • Bingham Powell, [2013], Representation in context: Election laws and ideological congruence between citizens and governments, Perspectives on Politics, Vol.11, pp.9-21
  • Jones, B.D. e Baumgartner, F.R. [2004], Representation and agenda setting, «Policy Studies Journal», Vol. 32, pp.1-24.
  • Önnudóttir, E.H. [2014], Policy Congruence and Style of Representation: Party Voters and Political Parties, « West European Politics» Vol.37, pp.538-563
  • Penner, E., Blidook, K. e Soroka, S. [2006], Legislative priorities and public opinion: representation of partisan agendas in the Canadian House of Commons, «Journal of European Public Policy», Vol.13, pp.1006-1020. (RP)
  • Warwick, P.V. [2015], Public opinion and government policy in Britain: A case of congruence, amplification or dampening?, «European Journal of Political Research» Vol.54, pp.61-80 (RP)


Recommended readings:

  • Bevan, S., Jennings, W., [2014]. Representation, agendas and institutions: Representation, agendas and institutions. European Journal of Political Research 53, 37–56.
  • Costello, R.; Thomassen, J. ; Rosema, M. [2012], European Parliament Elections and Political Representation: Policy Congruence between Voters and Parties, «West European Politics», 35, pp.1226-1248
  • Jennings, W., John, P., 2009. The Dynamics of Political Attention: Public Opinion and the Queen’s Speech in the United Kingdom. American Journal of Political Science 53, 838–854. doi:10.1111/j.1540-5907.2009.00404.x


5th June(Marangoni)

Interests representation  (at national and European level)

Core Readings

  • Bouwen P. [2004], Exchanging Access Goods for Access. A Comparative Study of Business Lobbying in the EU Institutions, «European Journal of Political Research», Vol. 43, pp. 337-369.
  • Dür A. [2008], Measuring Interest Group Influence in the EU: A Note on Methodology, «European Union Politics», Vol. 9, pp.559-576 (RP).
  • Franke, J. and Dobson, D. [1985], Interest Groups: The Problem of Representation, «Western Political Quarterly», Vol.38, pp.224-237
  • Rasmussen, A., Carroll, B.J. and Lowery, D. [2014], Representatives of the public? Public opinion and interest group activity, « European Journal of Political Research», Vol.53, pp.250-268.


Recommended Readings


12th June (Russo)
Students’ presentations


Research Design per le scienze storiche, sociali e politiche (Unipi, PhD, 2017)

«Research Design per le scienze storiche, sociali e politiche»

Federico Russo (Università del Salento)

Sala Dottorandi del Dipartimento di Scienze Politiche, via Serafini 3

12 maggio 2017, ore 9 -13

Parlare chiaro: l’analisi concettuale

19 maggio 2017, ore 9 -13

Come (e perché) realizzare uno studio di caso

26 maggio 2017, ore 9 -13

Dalla teoria alla pratica: presentazioni dei dottorandi


Seminar on “Research Design” (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, PhD, 2016)

Ph.D. in Human Rights and Global Politics: Legal, Philosophical and Economic Challenges
Seminar on “Research Design”
Federico Russo, University of Salento

This seminar will focus on two aspects of research design that are especially salient for interdisciplinary studies, the process of concept definition and the use of case studies. Concepts are the bricks of scientific enterprises, but too often those bricks are not solid enough: common weaknesses include sloppiness, theoretical confusion, conceptual stretching. Interdisciplinary research is especially prone to those problems. Conceptual analysis, which has roots in the philosophical tradition but is widely used also in the other human and social sciences, consists of a set of rules and procedures to avoid the common pitfalls of
ill-defined concepts. Case studies are widely employed for illustrative,  exploratory and theoretical purposes. In the seminar, we will discuss how case studies can enhance the analytical value of a research design and how they can be carried out. Issues related to case study design, data collection and analysis will be discussed. The seminar consists of two intensive workshops requiring the active participation of students, who will be required to reflect on how their research projects could benefit from the tools of conceptual analysis and the exploration of an empirical case. For this purpose, a list of required readings
will be circulated in advance.

Required readings
Collier, David, and Steven Levitsky. 1997. ‘Democracy with Adjectives: Conceptual Innovation in Comparative Research’. World Politics 49 (3): 430–51.
Pitkin, Hanna Fenichel. 1967. ‘Introduction’. In The Concept of Representation, 1–19. University of California Press.
Yin, Robert K. 2013. Introduction’. In Case Study Research (International Student Edition): Design and Methods, 1-18. SAGE Publications.


Scrivere e presentare un rapporto di ricerca (Scuola Sant’Anna, 2015)

Titolo: Scrivere e presentare un rapporto di ricerca

Durata: 20 ore

Docente: Dott. Federico Russo (



Il corso intende offrire agli studenti gli strumenti metodologici e tecnici per scrivere e presentare un report di ricerca basato su dati quantitativi. La prima parte passerà in rassegna i componenti fondamentali di un disegno di ricerca, seguendo il percorso che connette la domanda a cui vogliamo rispondere con gli strumenti di cui abbiamo bisogno. Partiremo con un’introduzione alla formazione dei concetti, ai tipi di variabili e alla costruzione di indicatori e indici, per poi affrontare i principali metodi di raccolta dati.

La seconda parte, di natura seminariale, introdurrà gli strumenti per muovere i primi passi nell’analisi dei dati quantitativi. Cominceremo dalle basi, come la costruzione di una dataset, la descrizione univariata e bivariata con metodi grafici, la lettura di una tabella a doppia entrata con l’introduzione di controlli. Questo ci aiuterà a familiarizzare con i concetti di relazione spuria, di variabile interveniente e antecendente. Le analisi saranno condotte con un semplice foglio di calcolo (Excel, Calc), utilizzandone le funzioni avanzate (come le tabelle pivot e alcuni strumenti statistici). Ogni studente potrà sviluppare il suo progetto.


Qua sotto sono disponibili i link alle slide presentate in classe e i materiali aggiuntivi che saranno disponibili di volta in volta.

Presentazione 1

Presentazione 2

Presentazione 3

Presentazione 4

Note per la lezione 5

Note per la lezione 6

Dataset di prova per la lezione 6 (tabelle aggiuntive uno e due) (codebook)

Dispensa statistica descrittiva (Blangiardo-Cameletti, link esterno)

Presentazione 7

Presentazione 8

Esempio: capitolo di presentazione risultati sondaggio IntUne 2007, a firma Cotta-Russo, in inglese (fino al paragrafo 2.2.3 Representation in the European Union)



Introduction to Political Research: Research Design (Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, Phd, 2015)

Ph.D. in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability

Ph.D. in Political Science, European Politics and International Relations

Introduction to Political Research: Research Design

 October 2015, Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna

 Dr. Federico Russo

Course description
This course is intended as an introduction to the logic of doing social and political research. It is designed for students who have never been exposed to methodological courses and it requires no previous knowledge of quantitative or qualitative research methods. Whenever possible examples of actual researches will be discussed in class to help students making sense of the concepts presented during the couse.
The course starts by considering the philosophical foundations on which contemporary social research is rooted, illustrating the main aspects of the neo-positivist/post-positivist debate. Understanding the radically different approach to reality adopted by scholars belonging to these two traditions students can fully understand the spirit animating the inferential approach to social phenomena. After this point of departure the logic of social and political research is analyzed by introducing the main steps through which researchers address their research questions. The road connecting theory, hypotheses and operationalization will be discussed. Next, students will be exposed to the fundamental difference between experimental and observational research designs. As this course is also an introduction to more advanced courses on data analysis particular attention is devoted to the strengths and limitations of statistical designs. Finally, the main methods of data collection will be presented.
The students of the Ph.D. in Politics, Human Rights and Sustainability will have the opportunity to present their own research projects in class in order to receive critical feedback.
Schedule of Classes

Monday 12th October, 16.30 – 18.30
Paradigms of political research
Neo-positivism vs. post-positivism


Wednesday 14th October, 9.00 – 13.00
The typical structure of inferential research
Research question, Theory, Hypotheses, Concepts and Variables


Thursday 15th October 14.30 – 16.30
Assessing causality: observational and experimental designs
Experimental designs as the gold standard in causal inference
Observational studies: the comparative method & statistical designs
Some common pitfalls of statistical designs (caution!)

Friday 16th October 14.30 – 16.30
Data collection methods
The basics: surveys, official data, content analysis
Content analysis: the Comparative Agendas Project

Monday 2nd November 9.00 – 11.00
Student presentations: I

Friday 6th November 9.00 – 11.00
Student presentations: II
Reference texts
Brady, H. E., & Collier, D. (Eds.). (2010). Rethinking Social Inquiry. Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. Lanham; Boulder; New York; Toronto; Plymouth, UK: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, inc.
Corbetta, P. (2003). Social Research: Theory, Methods and Techniques. (B. Patrick, Trans.). London ; Thousand Oaks, Calif: Sage Pubns Ltd.
King, G., Keohane, R. O., & Verba, S. (1994). Designing Social Inquiry. Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

Other more specific texts will be recommended in class