Armen Hahkverdian

September 2016- June 2017

Armen Hakhverdian is an associate professor in political science at the University of Amsterdam in the Netherlands. He received his BA at Leiden University and his MPhil and DPhil from Nuffield College, University of Oxford. Prior to joining the University of Amsterdam he was Max Weber Fellow at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy. His research is in the field of comparative politics with a focus on political representation, public opinion and social inequalities. His most recent research project “We the People: How Public Opinion towards Multiculturalism Shapes Political Outcomes” offers an examination of policy responsiveness to citizen preferences on immigration issues.

“We the People: How Public Opinion towards Multiculturalism Shapes Political Outcomes”

Public control  over policy outcomes  plays  a  central  role in democratic government. It remains  an  open  empirical  question,  however,  whether  or  not public  opinion  actually shapes  public  policy.  I therefore propose  to  analyze  to  what  extent,  how,  and  under which  conditions  public  preferences  shape  policy  outcomes in the Netherlands.  I  shall focus  on  the  policy  domain  of  multiculturalism for  both  its societal and academic relevance. The project not only seeks to establish whether election outcomes and policy emanate from  public  preferences,  but  also  how  and  under  which  conditions  public  influence impacts  policymakers.  The  ‘dynamic  representation’  framework  provides  analytical  tools to analyze the opinion-policy link. It states that the electorate shapes policy by selecting policymakers  and  by  altering  the  behavior  of  policymakers  in  office. I attempt to refine  this framework  by  incorporating  issue  salience  and uprooting it from its majoritarian origins to the Dutch multiparty context.