Responsive to whom? A comparison of the Mitterrand and Hollande presidencies

K.H.B. Damhuis*, Johannes Karremans

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article investigates the responsiveness of the Parti socialiste towards specific social groups under the Hollande and Mitterrand presidencies. It thereby contributes to the discussion on the changing representativeness of social democratic parties in Western Europe. The study is based on a content analysis of the governments’ justifications for the annual budget. With this innovative approach it is possible to assess whether the responsiveness of a party persists at the governmental level. Through an inductive coding procedure, three categories of responsive justifications are discerned: inequality reduction, needs of specific social groups and general functioning of society. In line with its title, the article mainly focuses on the second category, identifying a shift from responsiveness to the low-income classes towards responsiveness to the middle classes. Furthermore, a corresponding transformation of the Parti socialiste is observed, from advocating expansive policies in the early 1980s to justifying restrictive policies today.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1267-1287
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Responsiveness
  • political representation
  • policy justifications
  • social democratic parties
  • Parti socialiste


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