Party, Constituency, and Representation in Congress


The concept of representation is at the heart of our study of political parties, candidate competition, and elections in a contemporary democracy such as the United States. Nowhere is it more relevant than in the study of elections to the House of Representatives, an institution established by name and constitutional imperative as the locus of representation in the national government. However, as numerous scholars have pointed out, representation is a complex, multidimensional concept that is difficult to study empirically (Miller and Stokes; (Achen 1978; Miller and Stokes 1963; Pitkin 1967). In this chapter we report on a study using new measures to address enduring questions in the study of representation in Congress.

The State of the Parties: The Changing Role of Contemporary American Parties