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Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?

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  • Eric Brunner
  • Stephen L. Ross
  • Ebonya Washington

Abstract

We assemble a novel dataset of matched legislative and constituent votes and demonstrate that less income does not mean less representation. We show: (i) The opinions of high- and low-income voters are highly correlated; the legislator's vote often reflects the desire of both. (ii) What differences in representation by income exist vary by legislator party. Republicans more often vote the will of their higher income over their lower income constituents; Democratic legislators do the reverse. (iii) Differences in representation by income are largely explained by the correlation between constituent income and party affiliation. (JEL D31, D72)

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/pol.5.2.53
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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/aej/pol/data/2011-0244_data.zip
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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal American Economic Journal: Economic Policy.

Volume (Year): 5 (2013)
Issue (Month): 2 (May)
Pages: 53-76

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Handle: RePEc:aea:aejpol:v:5:y:2013:i:2:p:53-76

Note: DOI: 10.1257/pol.5.2.53
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References

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  1. Atif Mian & Amir Sufi & Francesco Trebbi, 2008. "The Political Economy of the U.S. Mortgage Default Crisis," NBER Working Papers 14468, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting and Electoral Behaviour: How do Individual, Local and National Factors Affect the Partisan Choice?," CEPR Discussion Papers 489, Centre for Economic Policy Research, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
  3. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya L. Washington, 2011. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," NBER Working Papers 16835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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Cited by:
  1. Eric J. Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya L. Washington, 2011. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," NBER Working Papers 16835, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Lind, J.T. & Rohner, D., 2011. "Knowledge is power: A theory of information, income and welfare spending," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1161, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  3. Stadelmann, David & Portmann, Marco & Eichenberger, Reiner, 2013. "How do Female Preferences Influence Political Decisions by Female and Male Representatives?," Annual Conference 2013 (Duesseldorf): Competition Policy and Regulation in a Global Economic Order 79748, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
  4. Niklas Potrafke, 2013. "Evidence on the political principal-agent problem fromvoting on public finance for concert halls," Ifo Working Paper Series Ifo Working Paper No. 164, Ifo Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
  5. Reiner Eichenberger & David Stadelmann & Marco Portmann, 2012. "A comparative analysis of the voting behavior of constituents and their representatives for public debts," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 23(3), pages 244-260, September.

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