Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Larry M. Bartels . One of the most basic principles of democracy is the notion that every. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Unequal Democracy is social science at its very best. Unequal Democracy has ratings and 34 reviews. rmn said: This is political scientist Larry Bartels’ statistical look at the growing income inequality.

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Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy.

Larry Bartels shows the gap between unqeual rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. This is not simply the result of bartfls forces, but the product of broad-reaching policy choices in a political system dominated by partisan ideologies and the interests of the wealthy. Bartels demonstrates that elected officials respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people.

He shows that Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality. He provides revealing case studies of key drmocracy shifts contributing to inequality, including the massive Bush tax cuts of and and the erosion of the minimum wage.

Finally, he challenges conventional explanations for why many voters seem to vote against their own democacy interests, contending that working-class voters have not been lured into the Republican camp by “values issues” like abortion and unequql marriage, as commonly believed, but that Republican presidents have been remarkably successful in timing income growth to cater to short-sighted voters.

Unequal Democracy is social science at its very best.

It provides a deep and searching analysis of the political causes and consequences of America’s growing income gap, and a sobering assessment of the capacity of the American political system to live up to its democratic ideals.

Especially at this time every thoughtful American needs to learn as much as possible about the relationship of politics to economics. The non-partisan and non-political Bartels points out devastatingly after an exhaustive study of Democratic and Republican presidents that the Democrats built a better economy and a more just society.

But few are aware of two important facts about the post-World War II era, both of which are brilliantly delineated in a new book, Unequal Democracyby Larry M. Bartels, a professor of political science at Princeton. Understanding them might help voters see what could be at stake, economically speaking, in November. Bartels, one of the country’s leading political scientists. Some of his analysis focuses on broadly characterized partisan differences, some on high profile examples such as the politics of the minimum wage and the estate tax.

He will have done a considerable service if the next time we start thinking about economics we also think about politics. Bartels shows that social issues do not dejocracy as strong a headwind against class-based voting as is often assumed and that lower income voters do tend to vote Democratic while upper-income voters do tend to vote Republican.

Unequal Democracy offers an important case for why this might be. One of Bartels’s most intriguing conclusions is that the political timing of economic growth has influenced voters.

As Bartels shows, much of what we think we know about the politics of economic inequality is dead wrong. Bartels’s perplexing and often unexpected discoveries should help refocus the gathering public debate about inequality and what to do about it. Putnam, author of Bowling Alone. It is a hugely important study of increasing economic inequality democracyy America and the failure of the political system to mitigate its effects on poor citizens.


It is the best work that has been done on the political economy of income inequality. As Larry Bartels, one of the nation’s top political scientists, convincingly demonstrates, the rich get richer when the Republicans are in power and when the less affluent fail to vote. This book is essential reading for anyone who wants answers to why so many of America’s working- and middle-class families are struggling to get by.

This book suggests that economists are wrong and that the growing inequality in America is not the product of world forces but of Republican administrations during which income grows more slowly, inequality soars, and no one notices because they pump up the economy during election years.

Low-income people have very little influence but which party is in power makes a vast difference for their fate. If you care about economic unequall, you need to seriously examine the powerful data in this book and recognize that we can choose a better, fairer society. The book proves beyond a reasonable doubt that the main fault for sizable socioeconomic inequalities in America lies not in our economy but in our increasingly polarized and partisan politics.

With intellectual force, Unequal Democracy pulls back the sheets on Washington’s pamper-the-rich policy process and offers ideas about how we can do better by average citizens and the poor. It is Bartels at his very best, and his very best is the best bratels is. Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller unequl this product, would you like dsmocracy suggest updates through seller support?

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Putnam, author of Bowling Alone “This is a fantastic book, a real tour de force. Patterson, Harvard University “Economists tend to see economic inequality as the unhappy but unavoidable result of markets–working-class people have to become relatively poorer because they are competing in a globalized world.

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I am surprised this book has not received more coverage than it has. Perhaps being a somewhat “dense” read makes it less interesting. However, if you can get through the charts, graphs, and some of the minutiae the author includes to make his case, there is an interesting case made.

It is a thought provoking and worthy of the effort. One person found this helpful. Bartels makes 2 major points: This is contrary to economic reductionism and some popular belief, i. The story is not good for Republicans and conservatives, but this is not an ideological argument — it’s statistical analysis.

That lower third shares a consistently diminishing portion of income growth and has no discernible share in political decisions made by their elected representatives in Congress. Along the way, Bartels offers an alternative answer to the “What’s the Matter with Kansas? Franks had said that, with those voters, “cultural value” issues abortion, school prayer, etc. Bartels, again through statistical analysis, finds that those voters are actually voting their economic interests, but through a “myopic” lens — voters’ behaviors reflect election year economic performance to the exclusion of other years.


Republican presidential candidates benefit from disproportionate economic growth during election years, while not paying the price of low or even negative growth and increasing inequality over the full course of their administrations. Democrats, despite producing higher overall income growth across all income segments and lower inequality, suffer from relatively poor growth during election years.

A remarkable book that is perfect for those into political analysis. While I do not agree with every assertion that Bartels makes and feel he makes some unsupported leaps in logic at times; he adequately proves his thesis that the political playing field in America is unfair.

Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age

The data and results of this book are quite astounding really. Now if only we could convince these people they’re voting against their interests In this study Princeton professor Larry Bartels makes the argument that lower- and middle-income groups consistently do better under Democratic administrations than under Republican.

During the last sixty years present the average annual growth of real GNP was 1. He shows further that income inequality has gone sharply upward during Republican administrations and slightly downward during Democratic. Inequality has gone up significantly sinceyears in which Republicans have won all but two presidential elections. He calls this the “new gilded age” because the top 1 percent now controls 20 percent of the wealth, a percentage not seen since the ‘s.

Perhaps another sign that the economy is out of balance and heading for greater turbulence.

Republican economists will argue that this is merely a statistical aberration. They claim democraacy presidents have little influence over the economy, and other forces such as monetary policy, oil prices, and technology are more determinative. Republicans view the market as a force of nature, whereas Democrats see it as a political construct.

Bartels, being a Democrat, makes a strong case for government intervention to achieve greater balance and greater income equality. Bartels shows that Democratic presidents have consistently produced their best results during their second year in office.

This is because the spending programs put in place the first year usually produce their benfits the second. Not suprisingly income growth was virtually the same for both parties the first, third, and fourth years. The second year surge seems to have given Democrats the edge. The question that comes to mind is that if Democrats are producing higher income growth and greater equality why did Republicans win 5 of the last 7 presidential elections? Bartels’ answer is that the benefits of the second year are no longer part of the voter’s consideration by the time elections roll around.

Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age by Larry M. Bartels

Also by the fourth year Republican presidential candidates are making populist election year promises that make them indistinguishable for Democratic candidates. Which party now is not in favor of bailouts and stimulus packages? Bartles makes an interseting argument. He argues that for those looking out for their economic interests it is not only important for Democrats to vote Democratic but Republicans – other than the top 1 percent – should also be voting Democratic. Joe the Plumber included.

The upcoming presidential elections will probably prove Bartels theory correct. This book explains the impact of extraordinary concentrations of wealth on democracy. How Congress becomes focus on pleasing those whose wealth finances their campaigns.