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Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?

  • Eric Brunner
  • Stephen L. Ross
  • Ebonya Washington

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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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
Contact details of provider: Web page: https://www.aeaweb.org/aej-policy
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  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. 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.
  3. Andrew Leigh, 2005. "Economic Voting And Electoral Behavior: How Do Individual, Local, And National Factors Affect The Partisan Choice?," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 17, pages 265-296, 07.
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