Unequal policy responsiveness in Spain Articles uri icon


  • Lupu, Noam

publication date

  • July 2022

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1475-1461

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1475-147X


  • Major theories of democratic representation posit that elected officials ought to reflect the preferences of their constituents and act accordingly. But a growing body of research finds that the preferences of the most affluent influence policy outcomes more than those of the least affluent. Yet, broad studies of unequal policy responsiveness have so far only examined Northern Europe and the USA. This biased sample limits our ability both to generalize about unequal responsiveness and to build theories about its causes. We address these limitations by studying Spain, which differs from prior cases in important ways. We collected data from Spanish mass surveys fielded over the period 1976¿2016 and researched which of these policies were subsequently approved. We find consistent evidence that policy responsiveness in Spain is unequal. We also find that this pattern holds regardless of the ideology of the government and the type of policy, although with some variation.


  • class; inequality; representation; policy preferences; spain