Mayors’ Notions of Local Democracy

  • Angelika Vetter
  • Hubert Heinelt
  • Lawrence E. Rose
Part of the Governance and Public Management book series (GPM)


This chapter focuses on European mayors’ notions of ‘participatory’ and ‘representative’ democracy. The authors explore to what extent and why European mayors share the notions of either ‘participatory’ or ‘representative’ democracy. The first result is that mayors support both notions more or less independently from each other and that these two notions are not two poles on one dimension of support for democracy. Second, the aggregated change in support for notions of participatory and representative democracy from 2003–2004 to 2015–2016 is limited. While mayors’ notions of participatory democracy can be explained by their political ideology (left-right), their value orientations, their age, and the size of the municipality in which they serve, support for representative democracy is significantly related to mayors’ value orientations, their gender, and whether or not they are party members. Taking additional macro-variables into account adds only little to the explanatory power of the models: Directly elected mayors show significantly less support for representative democracy than do other mayors. The same holds for mayors from former Soviet countries. However, the more citizens tend to trust political parties, the more their mayors tend to favour representative democracy.


Notions of democracy Participatory democracy Representative democracy European mayors Changes in support for notions of democracy Multilevel regression 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Angelika Vetter
    • 1
  • Hubert Heinelt
    • 2
  • Lawrence E. Rose
    • 3
  1. 1.Institute of Social ScienceUniversität StuttgartStuttgartGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Political ScienceTechnische Universität DarmstadtDarmstadtGermany
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of OsloOsloNorway

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