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Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?

  • Eric J. Brunner
  • Stephen L. Ross
  • Ebonya L. Washington

We assemble a novel dataset of matched legislative and constituent votes and demonstrate that less income does not mean less representation. We show 1) The opinions of high and low income voters are highly correlated; the legislator's vote often reflects the desire of both. 2) 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. 3) Differences in representation by income are largely explained by the correlation between constituent income and party affiliation.

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File URL: http://www.nber.org/papers/w16835.pdf
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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 16835.

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Date of creation: Feb 2011
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Publication status: published as Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2013. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 53-76, May.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:16835
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  1. 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.
  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. Eric Brunner & Stephen L. Ross & Ebonya Washington, 2013. "Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 5(2), pages 53-76, May.
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