Does Less Income Mean Less Representation?

39 Pages Posted: 28 Feb 2011

See all articles by Eric J. Brunner

Eric J. Brunner

University of Connecticut

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics

Ebonya L. Washington

Yale University - Department of Economics; National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Date Written: February 2011

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

Brunner, Eric J. and Ross, Stephen L. and Washington, Ebonya L., Does Less Income Mean Less Representation? (February 2011). NBER Working Paper No. w16835. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1770388

Eric J. Brunner (Contact Author)

University of Connecticut ( email )

Department of Public Policy
1800 Asylum Ave, 4th Floor
West Hartford, CT 06117
United States
860.570.9217 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://https://sites.google.com/site/ericbrunner1/

Stephen L. Ross

University of Connecticut - Department of Economics ( email )

365 Fairfield Way, U-1063
Storrs, CT 06269-1063
United States

Ebonya L. Washington

Yale University - Department of Economics ( email )

28 Hillhouse Ave
New Haven, CT 06520-8264
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.yale.edu/polisci/people/ewashington.html

National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

1050 Massachusetts Avenue
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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