- Political representation and its mechanisms: a dynamic left-right approach for the United Kingdom, 1976-2006
- British Journal of Political Science
- Volume | Issue number
- 40 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Some scholars use the ‘dynamic representation’ approach to test how much current policy changes reflect past public preferences. This article tests hypotheses derived from this approach in a left-right context for the United Kingdom from 1976 to 2006. This shows that government policy on the left-right scale shifts as public preferences change (‘rational anticipation’). Secondly, a public with right-wing preferences elects the Conservatives, who pursue right-wing policies in office (‘electoral turnover’). However, popular incumbents are less likely to adjust their policy position to the public. The Westminster system is criticized for its weak link between the rulers and the ruled, but dynamic representation on the left-right scale in the United Kingdom seems to have functioned admirably in this period.
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