The Delegate Theory of Representation

Donald J. McCrone, James H. Kuklinski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The delegate theory of representation posits that legislators ought to reflect purposively the preferences of their constituents. We show that this form of representation does take place on salient issues when the theory's two fundamental conditions are fulfilled simultaneously. First, legislators must think of themselves as delegates. Second, constituencies must provide consistent cues regarding district preferences to their representatives. The absence of either or both conditions seriously disrupts dele- gated representation
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)278
JournalAmerican Journal of Political Science
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1979


  • constituents
  • legislators
  • voting
  • liberalism
  • saliency
  • political representation
  • referendums
  • regression coefficients
  • incumbents
  • test theory


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