The ‘sanction‑policy’ linkage from the perspective of citizens and the role of the party system
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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Original versionActa Politica. 2021, 56, 181–204. 10.1057/s41269-020-00155-7
Research on dynamic representation stresses the effect of electoral incentives on politicians’ motivation to pursue policies in line with the preferences of the majority of the citizens. However, comparative research on the so-called sanction-policy link is still limited. The present article assesses the anticipatory effect of electoral accountability on government responsiveness from the perspective of citizens across 25 European countries. Results confirm the strong positive relationship between perceptions of electoral accountability and assessments of government responsiveness. Finally, the article examines the potential moderating effect of specific party system characteristics on people’s attitudes. Using multilevel models to analyse survey data from the sixth round of the European Social Survey, the study shows that the link between perceived accountability and responsiveness is conditional upon specific characteristics of the party system, namely fragmentation and volatility.