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Do the Affluent Override Average Americans? Measuring Policy Disagreement and Unequal Influence.

  • Academic Journal
  • Bowman, Jarron1 jarron.bowman@duke.edu
  • Social Science Quarterly (Wiley-Blackwell). May2020, Vol. 101 Issue 3, p1018-1037. 20p. 8 Graphs.
  • Objective: In this article, I seek to adjudicate between contradictory findings in studies of unequal responsiveness that focus on policy issues over which affluent and average Americans disagree. Methods: I assess the impact of 22 definitions of policy disagreement and two methods of measuring policy influence—based on win rates and policy change rates—on analyses of unequal responsiveness. Results: Win rates are an unreliable measure of influence and comparing policy change rates across cases of agreement and disagreement minimizes bias and allows for a more direct measure of relative independent policy influence. When income groups disagree over proposed policy changes, the preferences of the affluent—but not those of the middle—significantly impact the likelihood that the policies are implemented. Conclusion: My results support previous findings that the affluent have substantial influence over policy making while average Americans have little to no influence. [ABSTRACT FROM AUTHOR]
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