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 Research Projects at the MPIfG

Causes of Unequal Political Responsiveness: Exploring Potential Mechanisms

Lea Elsässer


 
Rising social inequality in most advanced democracies has prompted renewed interest in the old question of whether and how socioeconomic differences translate into unequal political power. A growing body of literature has empirically demonstrated that political decisions are heavily tilted toward the preferences of the better-off. Lower income and occupational groups, in contrast, seem to have no influence once their preferences diverge from those of top income groups. These findings have sparked a lively debate about potential causes underlying this pattern of unequal responsiveness, but empirical studies on the topic are still rare. Building on the existing literature addressing this debate, the project mainly explores two potential explanations: 1) the growing fiscal constraints that governments find themselves confronted with; and 2) the increasing underrepresentation of lower social classes in legislative bodies. Project duration at the MPIfG: September 2019 to September 2020.
 

 
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