220 American Government and Politics
Spring, 2000

Kenneth Janda, Instructor

Week 7: Congress and the President
Lecture 3: Representation and Public Opinion

May 10

Concepts of representation

  • Formal representation
    • as a legal agent
  • Descriptive representation
    • demographic matching
      • Occupation

    • Minorities

  • Religion

  • Policy representatiuon
    • congruence between laws and public opinion
    • Congress is more apt to be responsive to public opinion than not

The dyadic view of representation

  • The Miller-Stokes model

  • Methods of achieving
    • Involuntary (automatic) representation
    • Voluntary--reward and punishment
  • Evidence of policy representation
    • Varies according to policy area
    • Other studies find a lack of constituency effect
    • Involuntary representation seems strongest
    • But little relationship overall
    • Still, voters are pleased with representatives

The collective view of representation

  • Congress "as a whole" can be representative
  • House-Senate differences in 1970 study