Unequal Democracy

Format: Paperback
Pub. Date: 2010-03-14
Publisher(s): Princeton Univ Pr
List Price: $22.95

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Customer Reviews

Great textbook!  July 1, 2011
Rating StarRating StarRating StarRating StarRating Star

This is a great informative read if you are interested in US politics, especially in this day and age with our failing economy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. In addition, his textbook raises the issue of how we can improve the quality of the political debate in the U.S. over issues of economic inequality. Bartels presents new evidence that in fact the income distribution can be influenced by public policy to a very large extent. This is perhaps where the combination of self-interest and ideology divorced from reality can have its most destructive effects. I bought this used textbook and I found it valuable and worthy, the textbook was in the condition it was said and I am extremely satisfied with dealing with ecampus.

Unequal Democracy: 5 out of 5 stars based on 1 user reviews.


Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. This is not simply the result of economic forces, but the product of broad-reaching policy choices in a political system dominated by partisan ideologies and the interests of the wealthy.

Bartels demonstrates that elected officials respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people. He shows that Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality. He provides revealing case studies of key policy shifts contributing to inequality, including the massive Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the erosion of the minimum wage. Finally, he challenges conventional explanations for why many voters seem to vote against their own economic interests, contending that working-class voters have not been lured into the Republican camp by "values issues" like abortion and gay marriage, as commonly believed, but that Republican presidents have been remarkably successful in timing income growth to cater to short-sighted voters.

Unequal Democracy is social science at its very best. It provides a deep and searching analysis of the political causes and consequences of America's growing income gap, and a sobering assessment of the capacity of the American political system to live up to its democratic ideals.

Author Biography

Larry M. Bartels is the Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs and director of the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.

Table of Contents

Prefacep. ix
The New Gilded Agep. 1
Escalating Economic Inequalityp. 6
Interpreting Inequalityp. 13
Economic Inequality as a Political Issuep. 19
Inequality and American Democracyp. 23
The Partisan Political Economyp. 29
Partisan Patterns of Income Growthp. 31
A Partisan Coincidence?p. 34
Partisan Differences in Macroeconomic Policyp. 42
Macroeconomic Performance and Income Growthp. 47
Partisan Policies and Post-Tax Income Growthp. 54
Democrats, Republicans, and the Rise of Inequalityp. 61
Class Politics and Partisan Changep. 64
In Search of the Working Classp. 66
Has the White Working Class Abandoned the Democratic Party?p. 72
Have Working-Class Whites Become More Conservative?p. 78
Do “Moral Values” Trump Economics?p. 83
Are Religious Voters Distracted from Economic Issues?p. 90
Class Politics, Alive and Wellp. 93
Partisan Biases in Economic Accountabilityp. 98
Myopic Votersp. 99
The Political Timing of Income Growthp. 104
Class Biases in Economic Votingp. 110
The Wealthy Give Something Back: Partisan Biases in Campaign Spendingp. 116
Political Consequences of Biased Accountabilityp. 120
Do Americans Care about Inequality?p. 127
Egalitarian Valuesp. 130
Rich and Poorp. 136
Perceptions of Inequalityp. 143
Facts and Values in the Realm of Inequalityp. 148
Homer Gets a Tax Cutp. 162
The Bash Tax Cutsp. 164
Public Support for the Tax Cutsp. 170
Unenlightened Self-Interestp. 176
The Impact of Political Informationp. 181
Chump Changep. 186
Into the Sunsetp. 193
The Strange Appeal of Estate Tax Repealp. 197
Public Support for Estate Tax Repealp. 198
Is Public Support for Repeal a Product of Misinformation?p. 205
Did Interest Groups Manufacture Public Antipathy to the Estate Tax?p. 214
Elite Ideology and the Politics of Estate Tax Repealp. 217
The Eroding Minimum Wagep. 223
The Economic Effects of the Minimum Wagep. 227
Public Support for the Minimum Wagep. 229
The Politics of Inactionp. 232
Democrats, Unions, and the Eroding Minimum Wagep. 239
The Earned Income Tax Creditp. 246
Reversing the Tidep. 247
Economic Inequality and Political Representationp. 252
Ideological Representationp. 254
Unequal Responsivenessp. 257
Unequal Responsiveness on Social Issues: The Case of Abortionp. 265
Partisan Differences in Representationp. 267
Why Are the Poor Unrepresented?p. 275
Unequal Democracyp. 283
Who Governs?p. 285
Partisan Politics and the “Have-Nots”p. 288
Political Obstacles to Economic Equalityp. 294
The City of Utmost Necessityp. 298
Selected Referencesp. 305
Indexp. 317
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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