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



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