Vulnerabilities and Opportunities
Edited by Harald Baldersheim and Michael Keating
Chapter 6: Political mechanics of smallness: the Baltic states as small states in the European Parliament
The impact of state size on macroeconomics, political economy and international politics is well established in academic literature. When it comes to domestic politics, the received wisdom is that nearly all contemporary democracies are too big to benefit from the advantages assigned to small political communities, following the conclusion from Dahl and Tufte’s seminal Size and Democracy (1973). However, there is evidence on the impact of country size on the size of parliaments, democratic endurance, civil conflict, electoral turnout and party membership levels. Still, much of the research is exploratory in nature, and the mechanisms by which state size affects political variables remain understudied. Anckar (2002) is among the few to break the mould, as he argues that smaller country size means smaller distances between elites and citizens and, as a result, interest articulation is filtered through fewer intervening structures and agents. This chapter analyses the working of such intermediate institutions in the Baltic states. More specifically, we look at the members of the European Parliament (MEPs) by analysing patterns of representation in the committees and political groups of the European Parliament and on national party boards.
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