Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin - DYNAMICS

Core Theory: Democratic Responsiveness

by Prof. Thomas Meyer, PhD


This course will introduce the PhD students to the central concepts and theories of democratic responsiveness.  Starting with a discussion of the underlying   theoretical models of political representation in democratic societies, the course will introduce our doctoral researchers to the major building blocks of democratic responsiveness.

We will first discuss processes of preference formation in order to understand how voters form their opinion, e.g. their preferences on redistribution, their attitudes towards migrants or their position on European integration. Secondly, the PhD students will be introduced to the major theories of voting behaviour to explain why citizens cast their vote for specific candidates or political parties. Third, given that political parties are central intermediary actors that are supposed to aggregate voter preferences and translate them into public policies, we will furthermore shed light on the major theories of party competition to understand how parties compete for voters. Fourth, we will shed light on how political institutions and other societal actors affect the link between voters and their elected representatives by discussing the effect of the electoral system, electoral competitiveness, coalition governance and interest group lobbying on party competition, voting behaviour and government responsiveness.