Who do Europeans want to govern? Exploring the multiple dimensions of citizens’ preferences for political actors in nine European countries

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Jean-Benoit Pilet, Davide Vittori, Sebastien Rojon and Emilien Paulis
Sage Journal
Party Politics


Many studies have tried to identify citizens’ views about which actors should govern and how. These studies have mostly looked at support for citizens or independent experts being given a greater role. Recently, Hibbing, Theiss-Morse, Hibbing and Fortunato have proposed a new battery of 21 survey items capturing the dimensions along which citizens’ preferences for who should govern are organized. Testing their survey instrument among US respondents, they identified seven dimensions. In this study, we replicate their approach across nine European democracies, namely, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Finland, Greece, Ireland and the Netherlands. The replication allows, first, to compare citizens’ preferences for political actors between the US and Europe, and within Europe. Second, it provides suggestions for how Hibbing and colleagues’ battery might be adapted and re-used in other countries, enabling further cross-national comparative research on citizens’ preferences for who should govern.