PS: Political Science & Politics

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Income, Preferences, and the Dynamics of Policy Responsiveness

Joseph Daniel Uraa1 and Christopher R. Ellisa2

a1 Texas A&M University

a2 North Carolina State University

A variety of measures indicate that income inequality has grown significantly in the United States during the last three decades (APSA 2004; Brandolini and Smeeding 2006). In a flurry of recent research, scholars have attributed this trend to the failure of the national government to represent the preferences of ordinary citizens in general and less wealthy citizens in particular (APSA 2004; Bartels 2004; 2006; Gilens 2005), who participate in politics less consistently and contribute fewer resources to political candidates than their wealthier peers (Verba, Schlozman, and Brady 1995). The American Political Science Association's (APSA) Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy summarizes this representative failure hypothesis: “disparities in participation ensure that ordinary Americans speak in a whisper while the most advantaged roar” (2004, 2).

Joseph Daniel Ura is assistant professor of political science at Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. His research focuses on the intersections between courts, legislatures, and mass political behavior in the United States.

Christopher R. Ellis is assistant professor of political science at North Carolina State University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006. His research focuses on heterogeneity in American public opinion and issues of democratic representation in the United States.

Footnotes

Appendices and replication data are available at http://dvn.iq.harvard.edu/dvn/dv/jura.

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