2004
Volume 91, Issue 4
  • ISSN: 0025-9454
  • E-ISSN: 1876-2816

Abstract

Abstract

The growing responsibilities of Dutch local governments for policy that was originally carried out by the national government raise the question to what extent local democracy is up to these tasks. Citizen participation is a central demand in any representative democracy. Participation ought to be not merely high, but also equal and non-selective, so that the voice of all societal groups is heard proportionally loud. This is particularly important when societal groups differ in their political preferences.

This article studies the extent to which citizen participation in Dutch municipalities is indeed non-selective, by analyzing the first Dutch Local Election Survey 2016. It shows that not all citizens participate equally by casting their vote in local elections or via other local forms of participation. Particularly those groups that are underrepresented in political activities are more likely to support direct democracy in their municipality. The inequality in political participation along policy preferences cannot be reduced to demographic differences, implying that demographic representation is not the solution to participatory inequality.

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2016-12-01
2021-08-01
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