Why Aren't They There? is a comprehensive study of political representation in a cross-national format, making a cross-country comparison of the representation of women, ethnic groups, and policy positions.
It includes an analysis of the representation of women over time, and presents a critical view of the effectiveness of quotas. Using new data on ethnic groups in legislatures, it makes a significant step forward in the analysis of political representation. The representation of issue positions is examined in eight policy domains, and the book's systematic approach allows a groundbreaking examination of how different forms of representation – women, ethnic groups, issue positions – are interlinked.
Didier Ruedin examines aspects unattainable in studies focusing only on a single form of representation. The result is a comprehensive understanding of political representation, and important and policy-relevant insights for electoral engineering.
'An excellent piece of work that jointly discusses two dimensions and two groups that have been studied too often apart from one another: descriptive and substantive representation, and women and ethnic groups. It uses new and rich data, the hypotheses are well embedded in the existing theories and empirical research, and the research design and methods are intelligent. Well written and comprehensive, this is a must-read for scholars interested in representation and representativeness of today’s legislatures.'
Karen Celis, Research Professor, Vrije Universiteit Brussel and co-convenor of the ECPR Standing Group on Gender and Politics
'Ruedin adds to our understanding of political representation with an impressive comparative study of the gender and ethnic composition of national legislatures, two largely separate research fields; the representation of women and of ethnic groups. Alongside this he assembles relevant material from literature on parties, electoral studies, feminist research and political theory, using it to develop a single integrated theoretical framework and hypotheses which he tests on multiple data sources, including new data and the World Values Survey.' Why aren’t they there? is a comprehensive and significant addition to the literature on this topic and should be compulsory reading for all students of political representation.'
Dr Rosie Campbell, Senior Lecturer in Politics, School of Politics and Sociology, Birkbeck, University of London
'This is a careful and thorough study that explores the representation of groups and the representation of ideas is a benchmark for future research in this field. Ruedin examines the descriptive representation of women, ethnic groups and substantive representation in general, using a large-N comparative approach. The exploration of empirical theories of representation with such a varied set of focii is impressive, and a necessary step if we are to accept theories evolved in one area that are claimed to be of more general application.
Ruedin's results are something of a challenge to the orthodoxy of institutionalism since he finds mechanisms like quotas and even electoral systems have relatively weak effects, while various measures of, and proxies for, cultural variations appear to have more impact. While this book will not be the last word on these topics, Ruedin's work cannot be ignored by anyone working on this topic in the future.'
Michael Marsh, Professor of Comparative Political Behaviour, Trinity College Dublin