Does descriptive representation narrow the immigrant gap in turnout? A comparative study across 11 Western European democracies

Geese, Lucas ORCID: (2023) Does descriptive representation narrow the immigrant gap in turnout? A comparative study across 11 Western European democracies. Political Studies, 71 (4). pp. 1277-1297. ISSN 0032-3217

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The political representation of citizens of immigrant origin in Western Europe has received much attention in recent years’ political science research. While existing research has advanced our understanding of the drivers of citizens of immigrant origins’ descriptive representation, a lot less is known about its consequences for citizens of immigrant origins’ electoral participation. This article intends to address this gap in the literature by conducting the first cross-country comparative study of whether migrant-specific descriptive representation can attenuate turnout gaps between citizens of immigrant origin and native-origin citizens in 11 Western European democracies. Linking data on migrant-specific descriptive representation in national parliaments with survey data provided by the European Social Survey, results suggest that turnout gaps tend to be lower in countries where descriptive representation is high. However, this relationship is contingent upon citizens of immigrant origin who consider themselves to be in an ethnic minority position, in which they frequently experience discrimination. By contrast, there is no evidence that descriptive representation matters for turnout levels of non-marginalised citizens of immigrant origin. The study sheds light on the widely overlooked link between descriptive representation and the immigrant gap in turnout levels and opens up several avenues for future research.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: western europe,descriptive representation,electoral turnout,immigration,sociology and political science ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/3300/3312
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Science > School of Environmental Sciences
UEA Research Groups: University of East Anglia Schools > Faculty of Science > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
Faculty of Science > Research Centres > Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 15 Feb 2022 16:30
Last Modified: 21 Oct 2023 00:41
DOI: 10.1177/00323217211067129


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