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Working paper
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English

What rich and poor consider important and how this matters for representation

Number of pages37
Publication date2019
Abstract

Research on unequal representation suggests that governments tend to represent the preferences of the rich better than those of less affluent citizens. We argue that inequality already occurs at the agenda-setting stage: when the rich and the poor hold distinct priorities (priorities gap), governments pay more attention to what the rich consider important in their legislative agenda. We amassed three types of data for our analyses. First, we extract the policy priorities for rich and poor from Eurobarometer data between 2003 and 2015 for 10 European countries and match this information with data on policy outcomes from the Comparative Agendas Project. Second, we validate our findings with a comparison of three single country studies over longer time series. We conclude that unequal representation occurs already at the beginning of the policy-making process. This suppression of the priorities of the poor is potentially even more severe than unequal treatment of preferences.

Funding
  • European Commission - Unequal Democracies [741538]
Citation (ISO format)
TRABER, Denise et al. What rich and poor consider important and how this matters for representation. 2019
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Working paper
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Identifiers
  • PID : unige:134628
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