ElectionGudie

One of Us: Multilevel models examining the impact of descriptive representation on civic engagement

April 26, 2011, 5 p.m.


The Harvard Kennedy School working papers published a report by Pippa Norris and Mona Lena Krook, One of Us: Multilevel models examining the impact of descriptive representation on civic engagement.  They explain the importance of descriptive representation and how other types of representation, such as symbolic, authorized, and substantive interact and work to build legitimacy.  Norris and Krook also analyze the roles gender and youth play in civic engagement and voter participation in relation to descriptive representation.  The synopsis of the paper is provided below.

This paper examines the impact of descriptive representation in comparative perspective. The goals are to establish (1) whether descriptive representation mobilizes attitudinal and behavioral indicators of civic engagement; (2) whether the strength of any such relationship differs for women and young people; and (3) whether this relationship is evident cross‐nationally. The first section provides an overview of existing research on descriptive representation and the civic engagement of women and young people. The second section presents the research design. The third reports and discusses the findings of the multilevel models and what these suggest about relationships between descriptive representation in national parliaments and patterns in civic engagement among citizens. The paper concludes with a summary of the major findings and reflects upon their implications for understanding and altering long‐standing inequalities in civic engagement.

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