When does class matter? Unequal representation in Indonesian legislatures

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations
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Author(s)

Detail(s)

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1252-1275
Journal / PublicationThird World Quarterly
Volume42
Issue number6
Online published10 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 2021

Abstract

Around the world, legislatures are dominated by politicians who are wealthier and more educated than their constituents. This is particularly so in developing democracies, where clientelist politics and wealth inequalities make it difficult for lower-class citizens to run for office. We contribute to scholarly debates about the substantive consequences of descriptive inequality by analysing a new and important case–Indonesia, the world’s third most populous democracy. Indonesian politicians have much higher levels of education and income than citizens, and they are more likely to have professional backgrounds. To explore the implications of these inequalities, we survey and compare politicians’ and voters’ positions on a range of economic policy issues. We find the views of Indonesian politicians are generally more congruent with those of upper-class voters. However, we also find variation across policy areas. There is much cross-class agreement on statist interventions like price controls–in part reflecting politicians’ dependence upon the state; however, the gap between voters and politicians widens substantially on the issue of economic redistribution. Upper-class biases within Indonesian legislatures thus obscure a large lower-class constituency in favour of a more redistributive economic regime, a consituency largely unrepresented by Indonesia’s parties.

Research Area(s)

  • class, congruence, democracy, Indonesia, Representation

Citation Format(s)

When does class matter? Unequal representation in Indonesian legislatures. / Warburton, Eve; Muhtadi, Burhanuddin; Aspinall, Edward; Fossati, Diego.

In: Third World Quarterly, Vol. 42, No. 6, 2021, p. 1252-1275.

Research output: Journal Publications and Reviews (RGC: 21, 22, 62)21_Publication in refereed journalpeer-review