KU Rep Students

Sara Miller, summer 2017. Sir Robert Worcester Summer Fellowship, for her disseration project on European political parties.

Abstract. A prominent literature in political science argues that parties have become more akin to cartels by representing their own interests first and foremost, rather than maintaining representative and responsive connections to the people. The cartel literature, however, provides little evidence whether growing cooperation among parties over the spoils of governance comes at the cost of representing citizens. My dissertation examines one of the central implications of cartel theory: parties increasingly cooperate and simultaneously increasingly ignore the preferences of mass publics. In doing so, this research will test whether modern parties exhibit decreased representation through collusion, or whether parties remain responsive to the changing needs of the electorate even though they may benefit from state resources.