Scientific article

The brahmin left, the merchant right and the bloc bourgeois

First online date2021-04-21

In a recent paper, Piketty argues that the vote for the left in France, the UK and the USA tends increasingly to be associated with a high education level whereas a traditional class- or income-based divide separated left from right individuals in the 1950s and 1960s. The current situation would be characterised by a dominance of ‘elites' in left and right constituencies: financially rich elites vote for the right (merchant right), high-education elites vote for the left (brahmin left). Using ISSP data for 17 countries, this paper tests the influence of income and education inequalities on political leaning and a variety of policy preferences: the support for redistribution, for investment in public education, for globalisation and immigration. Results show that income levels are still relevant for the left-right divide, but the influence differs across education levels. Our findings also point to a certain convergence of opinion among the Brahmin left and the merchant right, which could lead to a new political divide beyond the left and the right, uniting a bloc bourgeois.

  • Political cleavage
  • Redistribution
  • Inequality
  • Political economy
Citation (ISO format)
AMABLE, Bruno, DARCILLON, Thibault. The brahmin left, the merchant right and the bloc bourgeois. In: Review of international political economy, 2021.
Main files (1)
Article (Published version)
  • PID : unige:155327
ISSN of the journal0969-2290

Technical informations

Creation10/07/2021 7:21:00 AM
First validation10/07/2021 7:21:00 AM
Update time03/16/2023 1:28:56 AM
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