Responsible Responsiveness of Parties in and out of Government

Part of the Vergleichende Politikwissenschaft book series (VGPO)


Point of departure is the question to what extent parties in government are responsive and responsible. The answer depends on whether parties act in terms of Principal-Agent (P-A) relations as a mandatory (agent) or as a delegate (Principal) Obviously, most decisions are not fully responsively or responsibly made. However, the closer the gap between the common good (i e responsibility) and individual electoral preferences (i e responsiveness), the better the quality of democracy and thus governance may be. Yet, trust in parties and government in most of the OECD-world is decreasing as well as satisfaction with public policy performance This signifies that in many parliamentary democracies the P-A relations are disturbed. Hence the question of this paper is to what extent there is a growing gap between representation and democratic governance. Is this due to weakening of the responsive and responsible behaviour of parties – especially those in government? The data analysis shows that the relationship between principal and agent is mixed. It concerns two arenas: one, is the electoral arena where responsiveness is in terms of P-A relations mandatory, and two, the parliamentary arena where responsible policy formation is delegatory. It is up to the parties to find a balance within and between the two arenas to further political stability.


Welfare State Party System Policy Performance Median Position Responsible Responsiveness 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dept.of Political Science & Public AdministrationVU University AmsterdamLangweerNetherlands

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