Bureaucratic Capacity and Class Voting: Evidence From Across the World and the United States

52 Pages Posted: 27 Jan 2019

See all articles by Kimuli Kasara

Kimuli Kasara

Columbia University - Department of Political Science

Pavithra Suryanarayan

Johns Hopkins University

Date Written: January 15, 2019

Abstract

Why do the rich and poor support different parties in some places? We argue that voting along class lines is more likely to occur where states can tax the income and assets of the wealthy. In low bureaucratic capacity states, the rich are less likely to participate in electoral politics because they have less to fear from redistributive policy. When wealthy citizens abstain from voting, politicians face a more impoverished electorate. Because politicians cannot credibly campaign on anti-tax platforms, they are less likely to emphasize redistribution and partisan preferences are less likely to diverge across income groups. Using cross-national survey data, we show there is more class voting in countries with greater bureaucratic capacity. We also show that class voting and fiscal capacity were correlated in the United States in the mid-1930s when state-level revenue collection and party systems were less dependent on national economic policy.

Keywords: Fiscal Capacity, Class Voting, American Political Behavior, Comparative Political Behavior

Suggested Citation

Kasara, Kimuli and Suryanarayan, Pavithra, Bureaucratic Capacity and Class Voting: Evidence From Across the World and the United States (January 15, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3316320 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3316320

Kimuli Kasara

Columbia University - Department of Political Science ( email )

7th Floor, International Affairs Bldg.
420 W. 118th Street
New York, NY 10027
United States

Pavithra Suryanarayan (Contact Author)

Johns Hopkins University ( email )

1740 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20036-1984
United States

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