The title of this book sums up what it covers. Paul Burstein addresses the fundamental question of representative democracy: does the public get what it wants from government? He is not the first to do so, but he is the first to do what he does in this book. Burstein identifies a random sample of policy proposals introduced in Congress and then assesses the influence of both public opinion and interest group advocacy on their passage. Do members of Congress represent public opinion when acting on the sample of policy proposals? Do they respond to interest group pressure? Burstein provides surprising answers that challenge the way we think about democracy in America.
It is an empirical book, and the methodology that Burstein employs is its real strength. His approach involves defining and measuring “policy proposals” as distinct from bills, as each proposal can be introduced in different bills, and then sampling from them—that is, he lets public opinion pollsters or interest groups or his own judgment define which proposals he examines. Having produced a sample of 60 policy proposals, Burstein turns to the effects of public opinion and, especially, interest group advocacy on the advancement of those proposals.
Burstein identifies polls corresponding to each policy proposal. There is not a precise matching in each case, as there
To continue reading, see options above.
The Government-Citizen Disconnect, Suzanne Mettler Reviewed by Christopher Wlezien
When Do the Rich Win?, Christopher Wlezien
Why Budgets Matter: Budget Policy and American Politics, Dennis S. Ippolito Reviewed by Christopher Wlezien
Abortion Rates in the United States: The Influence of Opinion and Policy, Matthew E. Wetstein Reviewed by Christopher Wlezien
Join the Academy of Political Science and automatically receive Political Science Quarterly.
Voting and the Electorate
Publishing since 1886, PSQ is the most widely read and accessible scholarly journal with distinguished contributors such as: Lisa Anderson, Robert A. Dahl, Samuel P. Huntington, Robert Jervis, Joseph S. Nye, Jr., Theda Skocpol, Woodrow Wilsonview additional issues
Articles | Book reviews
PRESIDENTIAL SELECTION AND DEMOCRACY
The Academy of Political Science, promotes objective, scholarly analyses of political, social, and economic issues. Through its conferences and publications APS provides analysis and insight into both domestic and foreign policy issues.
With neither an ideological nor a partisan bias, PSQ looks at facts and analyzes data objectively to help readers understand what is really going on in national and world affairs.