An analysis of political ambition in Britain

Peter Allen, David Cutts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Abstract

Representative democracies require sufficient numbers of citizens to put themselves forward as candidates for political office. Existing studies have shown that the composition of political institutions is not representative of the population as a whole, suggesting that political ambition is not evenly distributed among all potential candidates. We discuss evidence from the first systematic study of political ambition in Britain, examining the question of who is interested in putting themselves forward for political office. We find patterns in the distribution of political ambition that help to explain why British political institutions do not look like the British people as a whole including a gender gap, a social class gap, an education gap, a north-south divide, and a personality gap. We discuss the implications of our findings for political parties, arguing that they need to adjust practices of candidate recruitment in such a way that minimises the effects of these biases.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-81
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Volume89
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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An analysis of political ambition in Britain. / Allen, Peter; Cutts, David.

In: Political Quarterly, Vol. 89, No. 1, 01.01.2018, p. 73-81.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Allen, Peter ; Cutts, David. / An analysis of political ambition in Britain. In: Political Quarterly. 2018 ; Vol. 89, No. 1. pp. 73-81.
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