Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America by Martin Gilens
Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. Affluence and Influence definitively explores how political inequality in the United States has evolved over the last several decades and how this growing disparity has been shaped by interest groups, parties, and elections.
With sharp analysis and an impressive range of data, Martin Gilens looks at thousands of proposed policy changes, and the degree of support for each among poor, middle-class, and affluent Americans. His findings are staggering: when preferences of low- or middle-income Americans diverge from those of the affluent, there is virtually no relationship between policy outcomes and the desires of less advantaged groups. In contrast, affluent Americans' preferences exhibit a substantial relationship with policy outcomes whether their preferences are shared by lower-income groups or not. Gilens shows that representational inequality is spread widely across different policy domains and time periods. Yet Gilens also shows that under specific circumstances the preferences of the middle class and, to a lesser extent, the poor, do seem to matter. In particular, impending elections--especially presidential elections--and an even partisan division in Congress mitigate representational inequality and boost responsiveness to the preferences of the broader public.
At a time when economic and political inequality in the United States only continues to rise, Affluence and Influence raises important questions about whether American democracy is truly responding to the needs of all its citizens.
Martin Gilens is professor of politics at Princeton University. He is the author of Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy.
Table of Contents
List of Tables ix List of Figures xi Acknowledgments xiii
Chapter 1 Citizen Competence and Democratic Decision Making 12 Chapter 2 Data and Methods 50 Chapter 3 The Preference/Policy Link 70 Chapter 4 Policy Domains and Democratic Responsiveness 97 Chapter 5 Interest Groups and Democratic Responsiveness 124 Chapter 6 Parties, Elections, and Democratic Responsiveness 162 Chapter 7 Democratic Responsiveness across Time 193 Chapter 8 Money and American Politics 234
The realities as provided, through the author's personal perceptions are essentially, the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities
and threats facing the whole as well as the various sectors of the economy. The reader is given an understanding of the difficulties facing anyone ...
For a while, it seemed impossible to lose money on real estate. But then the
bubble burst. The financial sector was paralyzed and the economy contracted. State and federal governments struggled to pay their domestic and foreign creditors. Washington was ...
If, as many allege, attacking the gap between rich and poor is a form of
class warfare, then the struggle against income inequality is the longest running war in American history. To defenders of the status quo, who argue that ...
Since the earliest days of colonial America, the relationship between cotton and the African-American experience
has been central to the history of the republic. America's most serious social tragedy, slavery and its legacy, spread only where cotton could be grown. ...
The quest for freedom from hunger and repression has triggered in recent years a worldwide
movement toward political democracy and economic rationality. Never have so many people experimented with democratic institutions. At the same time, traditional strategies of economic development ...
The burgeoning sector of nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in Latin Americafunded by Northern donorsis both catalyzing
and responding to change, as states, market, and civil society realign in an age of information technology and globalization. The political economic perspective of this ...
This cartoon/coloring book is about Elizabeth Warren, a remarkable woman, who has risen from very
modest beginnings up to becoming a U.S. Senator in her fight against the Goliath of big money, power, and influence in Washington. Hers is a ...
Many of the earliest books, particularly those dating back to the 1900s and before, are
now extremely scarce and increasingly expensive. We are republishing these classic works in affordable, high quality, modern editions, using the original text and artwork.