Economic Inequality and the Representation of the Poor

Academic

Source

More Money, Fewer Problems? Cross-Level Effects of Economic Deprivation on Political Representation
West European Politics
Volume: 
36
Issue: 
4
Page numbers: 
817-835
Pages: 
19

Summary:

A significant body of research has demonstrated that the policy preferences of the affluent are generally better represented in liberal democracies. Building on these findings, the authors attempt to measure if higher levels of income inequality affect representation of the less affluent.

Using data from the Comparative Study of Electoral Systems (CSES) and the Standardised World Income Inequality Database, the policy preferences of the major parties and governments of more then 20 advanced democracies across nearly 50 elections were analysed in comparison to the preferences of lower-income citizens.

The results show that 'in economically more unequal societies, the party system represents the preferences of relatively poor citizens worse than in more equal societies'. The authors conclude that beyond its social and economic issues, high income inequality 'carries important implications for the functioning of democracy and the equal consideration of the preferences of all societal groups'.

 

Thumbnail image: Coco Curranski/Flickr

Author(s)
Jan Rosset

University of Lausanne

Nathalie Giger

University of Mannheim

Julian Bernauer

University of Berne

Countries/Regions
Western Europe
Published Date
July 1, 2013