Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics

Working Paper Series,
Uppsala University, Department of Economics

No 2004:2: Do Politicians’ Preferences Correspond to those of the Voters? An Investigation of Political Representation

Matz Dahlberg (), Eva Mörk () and Hanna Ågren
Additional contact information
Matz Dahlberg: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Eva Mörk: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden
Hanna Ågren: Department of Economics, Postal: Uppsala University, P.O. Box 513, SE-751 20 Uppsala, Sweden

Abstract: This paper investigates to what extent voters and politicians have the same preferences for locally provided welfare services. We make use of two different types of survey questionnaires; one directed towards voters and one directed towards politicians. We reach two main conclusions in the paper. First, we find that politicians have preferences for significantly different spending on locally provided welfare services compared to voters. Second, this difference remains even after controlling for politicians and voters having different socio-economic characteristics. For example, when analyzing female representation, we find that female politicians have significantly different preferences for spending than female voters. One implication of the latter result is that an increase in the ratio of female to male politicians may not be the only way to deal with the desire to increase the political representation of women.

Keywords: Political representation; local public

JEL-codes: C35; H40; H72

34 pages, January 20, 2004

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