affluence and influence economic inequality and political power in america pdf

Affluence And Influence Economic Inequality And Political Power In America Pdf

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Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged.

Inequality has been on the rise over the last three decades, and has been a pervasive issue in the recent U. On one level, income inequality is a non-issue in a market economy where there will always be winners and losers. In a market where individuals are free to make choices and reap the rewards of the choices they make, it is a given that some will wind up with more than others.

There are wide varieties of economic inequality , most notably measured using the distribution of income the amount of money people are paid and the distribution of wealth the amount of wealth people own. Besides economic inequality between countries or states, there are important types of economic inequality between different groups of people. Important types of economic measurements focus on wealth , income , and consumption. There are many methods for measuring economic inequality, [3] with the Gini coefficient being a widely used one. Another type of measure is the Inequality-adjusted Human Development Index , which is a statistic composite index that takes inequality into account.

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In the following pages I briefly reflect on three related aspects of political inequality: political parties, inequality of political influence, and electoral reform. I also point to three areas of particular promise for future research on the challenges facing American democracy: the U. Why this has happened and what the consequences are is not entirely clear. Some popular potential explanations for party polarization appear to play little or no role, including primary elections, increased geographic state or congressional district homogeneity, gerrymandering, and issue polarization among the public. Potential explanations left standing include:. One widely but not universally perceived consequence of partisan polarization is a strategy of partisan obstructionism and gridlock.

Why is there not more public outcry in the face of rising income inequality? Although public choice models predict that rising inequality will spur public demand for redistribution, evidence often fails to support this view. We explain this lack of outcry by considering social-psychological processes contextualized within the spatial, institutional, and political context that combine to dampen dissent. We contend that rising inequality can activate the very psychological processes that stifle outcry, causing people to be blind to the true extent of inequality, to legitimize rising disparities, and to reject redistribution as an effective solution. As a result, these psychological processes reproduce and exacerbate inequality and legitimize the institutions that produce it.

Confidence ; Economic inequality ; Evaluation of government performance ; Perceptions ; Public opinion. Political trust is an evaluative orientation of citizens toward their political system, or some part of it, based upon their normative expectations. Income inequality is the extent to which income is distributed in an uneven manner among a population. In the mids, Americans had confidence in their political institutions. A number of comparative studies examined whether other Western democracies experienced a similar reduction in trust of their political institutions. These studies revealed that declining trust in government was not unique to the United States. Indeed, diminished levels of trust in government were happening

Trust in Government and Income Inequality

Many of our ebooks are available for purchase from these online vendors:. Many of our ebooks are available through library electronic resources including these platforms:. Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections. With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups.

Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

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