The Political Behavior of Wealthy Americans: Evidence from Technology Entrepreneurs

96 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017 Last revised: 11 Dec 2017

David E. Broockman

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Greg Ferenstein

Unaffiliated Authors - Independent

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business

Date Written: December 9, 2017

Abstract

American politics overrepresents the wealthy. But what policies do the wealthy support? Many accounts implicitly assume the wealthy are monolithically conservative and that increases in their political power will increase inequality. Instead, we argue there is substantial heterogeneity by industry, wherein the wealthy from an industry can share a distinctive set of political preferences. Consequently, how increases in the wealthy's influence affect inequality depends on which industries' rich are gaining influence and which issues are at stake. We demonstrate our argument with three original surveys, including the two largest surveys of wealthy Americans to date: one of technology entrepreneurs---a burgeoning wealthy demographic---and another of political campaign donors. We show that technology entrepreneurs support liberal redistributive, social, and globalistic policies but conservative regulatory policies---a bundle of preferences rare among other wealthy individuals. Consistent with our theoretical argument, we also present evidence that suggests these differences arise from their distinctive predispositions.

Suggested Citation

Broockman, David E. and Ferenstein, Greg and Malhotra, Neil A., The Political Behavior of Wealthy Americans: Evidence from Technology Entrepreneurs (December 9, 2017). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 17-61. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3032688 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3032688

David E. Broockman (Contact Author)

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

Gregory Ferenstein

Unaffiliated Authors - Independent ( email )

No Address Available

Neil A. Malhotra

Stanford Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States

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