Class Bias in Voter Turnout, Representation, and Income Inequality

William W. Franko, Nathan J. Kelly, Christopher Witko

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

14 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The mass franchise led to more responsive government and a more equitable distribution of resources in the United States and other democracies. Recently in America, however, voter participation has been low and increasingly biased toward the wealthy. We investigate whether this electoral "class bias" shapes government ideology, the substance of economic policy, and distributional outcomes, thereby shedding light on both the old question of whether who votes matters and the newer question of how politics has contributed to growing income inequality. Because both lower and upper income groups try to use their resources to mobilize their supporters and demobilize their opponents, we argue that variation in class bias in turnout is a good indicator of the balance of power between upper and lower income groups. And because lower income voters favor more liberal governments and economic policies we expect that less class bias will be associated with these outcomes and a more equal income distribution. Our analysis of data from the U.S. states confirms that class bias matters for these outcomes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalPerspectives on Politics
Volume14
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016

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voter turnout
income
trend
Economic Policy
voter
low income
balance of power
income distribution
resources
government policy
ideology
Group
democracy
participation
politics

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations

Cite this

Franko, William W. ; Kelly, Nathan J. ; Witko, Christopher. / Class Bias in Voter Turnout, Representation, and Income Inequality. In: Perspectives on Politics. 2016 ; Vol. 14, No. 2. pp. 351-368.
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Class Bias in Voter Turnout, Representation, and Income Inequality. / Franko, William W.; Kelly, Nathan J.; Witko, Christopher.

In: Perspectives on Politics, Vol. 14, No. 2, 01.06.2016, p. 351-368.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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