On Democratic Responsiveness
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In his organizing essay, Leonardo Morlino (2003) offers a minimal definition of democracy, based on multiple information sources and the competitive election of those who dominate the policymaking process. He then suggests five dimensions of “quality” on which working democracies might vary. One of these dimensions is “the responsiveness or correspondence of the political decisions to the desires of the citizens (3).” He suggests that this dimension is closely connected to accountability, but evaluates more substantively how government policies correspond to citizen’s demands. While some democratic theorists have defined democracy itself in terms of such responsiveness, I shall follow Morlino’s general suggestion that we think of it is a desirable quality of performance, rather than as part of the definition of democracy. This approach is also in line with Dahl’s suggestion that citizens inducing the government to do what they want is a justification for democracy, not a definition of it (1989, 95).

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