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Preference Gaps and Inequality in Representation

  • Martin Gilens (a1)
Abstract

In a recent article in PS, Soroka and Wlezien (2008) argue that the policy preferences of low- and high-income Americans rarely differ, and therefore that “regardless of whose preferences policymakers follow … policy will end up in essentially the same place” (325). In this article, I analyze a much larger and more diverse set of policies than those examined by Soroka and Wlezien and show that income-based preference gaps are much larger and more widespread than their data suggest. In terms of federal government policy, the affluent are far better represented than the poor; the findings in this paper indicate that this representational inequality has substantial repercussions across a wide range of policy issues.

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Task Force on Inequality, and American Democracy. 2004. “American Democracy in an Age of Rising Inequality.” Perspectives on Politics 2 (4): 651–66.
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PS: Political Science & Politics
  • ISSN: 1049-0965
  • EISSN: 1537-5935
  • URL: /core/journals/ps-political-science-and-politics
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