Political Representation and Economic Inequality (Fall 2019)

Abstract

The seminar introduces students to empirical research on political representation and economic inequality. The theoretical idea that the interest of each person is given equal consideration in political decision-making stands at the very core of democratic governance. By now, there is strong evidence that policy-making in some democracies is biased towards the wealthy and better-off parts of society, and unequal representation has been found for legislators, party platforms, national policy and state policy. To complicate the situation even further, research also shows that the gap in political participation keeps widening. In the course of the seminar, we will assess some of the most relevant research in the field. Who are the underrepresented? Why are they underrepresented? What role do political institutions play? How does economic inequality come in? Finally, how can we link the literature on political representation to the current rise in populism across advanced democracies? Students will become familiar with the theoretical background of equal representation, and they will critically evaluate analytical approaches, research strategies and methodology in the seminar readings.

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Verena Fetscher
Postdoctoral Researcher

My research interests include redistribution preferences, fariness concerns, and experimental methods