Ranked #53 in Democracy
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. less
Reviews and Recommendations
We've comprehensively compiled reviews of Unequal Democracy from the world's leading experts.
Daron Acemoglu Yes. The real worry is that as inequality has increased in the US, and perhaps because the nature of our political system has changed for other reasons, money has started becoming much more important in politics. Politicians have become much more responsive to the wishes and the views and the voice of the very wealthy. That’s what Larry Bartels’s book, Unequal Democracy, is about. There are parts of it that you may agree with, there are parts of it you may not agree with, but I think it paints a very alarming picture of how our democracy has become much more unequal. (Source)