Mathias Tromborg receives award for best LSQ paper

Assistant Professor of Political Science Mathias Tromborg has won an award for best comparative paper in the journal of Legislative Studies Quarterly (LSQ). The award was presented virtually at this year’s APSA conference.

2020.09.14 | Ingrid Marie Fossum

Photo: Aarhus BSS Communication and External Relations

In the award-winning paper, Mathias Tromborg explores one of the most central questions within research into democracy and representation together with Professor Leslie Schwindt-Bayer from Rice University. The question they are exploring is whether the elected politicians actually represent the preferences of the voters. Tromborg and Schwindt-Bayer are the first to explore whether politicians focus on what voters find most important in their constituencies - in other words, whether politicians respond to constituent demand.

They have explored this question in relation to one type of representation - i.e. the allocation of resources such as workplaces and public services to the politicians’ constituencies. This allocation is particularly important for citizens in rural districts, as these districts will have fewer resources to begin with. For example, they will have limited access to decent roads and public institutions as population density is low.

“Our research shows that politicians from rural districts are more likely to prioritise providing resources to their constituencies than politicians who represent urban constituencies,” says Mathias Tromborg.

The researchers have also revealed a causal relationship between citizen demands and the priorities of politicians.

“Politicians from rural districts prioritise the allocation of resources to their districts because rural voters are more likely to prioritise it,” says Tromborg.

The researchers have explored representation in Latin America, where providing resources to the constituency is generally a key feature of democratic representation. This also applies to the US and a few European countries, and the researchers are therefore expecting the results to apply to these democracies as well. The results may also apply to other kinds of representation, which would make them generalisable for how politicians act on an overall level. To clarify this, more research is needed.

“The award is a great acknowledgement that we are dealing with an interesting question. This inspires us to move on to exploring the new and related issues that appear,” Martin Tromborg concludes. The award was presented virtually at this year’s APSA conference on the evening of 14 September.

Read the award-winning paper ”Constituent Demand and District-Focused Legislative Representation” by Assistant Professor Mathias Wessel Tromborg from Aarhus BSS, Aarhus University and Professor of Political Science Leslie A. Schwindt-Bayer from Rice University.