The Chain of Representation

Preferences, Institutions and Policy across Presidential Systems

Author :  Brian F. Crisp Santiago Olivella & Guillermo Rosas
Publisher Cambridge University Press
Publication Year January 2020
Copyright Year 2020
ISBN 9781108784863
Page 649
Language English


How do formal institutions affect the extent to which democracies adopt policies that reflect the preferences of their citizens? Based on a chain of representation model in which electoral rules and policy-making powers link citizens, politicians, and policies, this book reveals the conditions under which citizen preferences and implemented policies diverge. Comparative quantitative analyses encompassing eighteen Latin American countries show that presidential democracies vary greatly in the degree to which they demonstrate responsiveness to their electorates. Often, individual presidents with strong legislative powers have prompted policy changes that are unrepresentative of voter preferences. Other times, their interactions with legislatures result in more representative policies. Grounded in clear theory and thorough empirics, this study shows how rules can introduce dissonance between voters and politicians, but also how they can potentially reduce it. This is an excellent resource for scholars and graduate students interested in comparative politics, institutional design, economic policy, and Latin American studies.