Afrobarometer data collected three decades after Joel Barkan’s pioneering survey of rural Kenyans confirm his insights that voters stress MPs’ linkage roles in terms of representation (carrying views upward to the capital) and constituency service (bringing goods downward from national government) over their institutional roles (lawmaking and oversight). And, contrary to conventional wisdom, they prefer collective goods for the constituency over private goods. An African Legislatures Project survey of 822 MPs in seventeen countries revealed, however, that MPs misinterpret this as a demand for material goods and development and underappreciate the demand for representation, prompting—among other things—the adoption of controversial Constituency Development Funds.
- public policy
- voter attitudes