From Convergence to Congruence: European Integration and Citizen-Elite Congruence


Recent research argues that European integration has led to an ideological con- vergence of member state party systems, which is purported to have significant consequences for democratic representation. We argue that convergence of party positions is less problematic if congruence between governed and governing is main- tained. We therefore turn to testing whether integration has had an effect on congruence between the public and their governing elites. Using five measures of integration, two sources of public opinion data, and expert surveys on political parties, we find little evidence that integration into the European Union reduces congruence between the public and the national party system, government or legis- lature either ideologically or across five issue areas. These results should assuage concerns about integration’s effect on domestic political representation.

European Union Politics