Predispositions, the Political Behavior of Wealthy Americans, and Implications for Economic Inequality: Evidence from Technology Entrepreneurs
111 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017 Last revised: 1 Jun 2018
Date Written: June 1, 2018
American politics overrepresents the wealthy. But what policies do wealthy Americans support? Many accounts implicitly assume the wealthy are monolithically conservative and that increases in their political power will increase inequality. We shed new light on the heterogeneity in the wealthy’s political preferences, arguing that the wealthy from an industry can share distinctive preferences due in part to sharing distinctive predispositions. Consequently, how increases in the wealthy’s influence affect inequality depends on which industries’ rich are gaining influence and which policy issues are at stake. We demonstrate our argument with four original surveys, including the two largest political surveys of wealthy Americans to date: one of technology entrepreneurs—a burgeoning wealthy demographic—and another of 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. These differences appear to arise partly from their distinctive predispositions.
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