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Beyond Equal Rights: Equality of Opportunity in Political Participation

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  • Paul Hufe
  • Andreas Peichl

Abstract

While it is well documented that political participation is stratified by socioeconomic characteristics, it is an open question how this finding bears on the evaluation of the democratic process with respect to its fairness. In this paper, we draw on the analytical tools developed in the equality‐of‐opportunity literature to answer this question. We investigate to what extent differential political participation is determined by factors that lie beyond individual control (circumstances) rather than being the result of individual effort. Using rich panel data from the United States, we indeed find a lack of political opportunity for the types with the most disadvantaged circumstances. Opportunity shortages tend to complement each other across different forms of participation and persist over time. Family characteristics and psychological conditions during childhood emanate as the strongest determinants of political opportunities.

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  • Paul Hufe & Andreas Peichl, 2020. "Beyond Equal Rights: Equality of Opportunity in Political Participation," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 66(3), pages 477-511, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:revinw:v:66:y:2020:i:3:p:477-511
    DOI: 10.1111/roiw.12442
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    1. Hufe, Paul & Peichl, Andreas & Stöckli, Marc, 2018. "Ökonomische Ungleichheit in Deutschland – ein Überblick," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 185-199.
    2. Armin Falk & Fabian Kosse & Pia Pinger & Hannah Schildberg-Hörisch & Thomas Deckers, 2021. "Socioeconomic Status and Inequalities in Children’s IQ and Economic Preferences," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 129(9), pages 2504-2545.

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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D39 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Other
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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