Do political dynamics have a systematic and predictable influence on distributional outcomes in the United States? This is central question around which revolves The Politics of Income Inequality in the United States by Nathan J. Kelly. The answer is a resounding ‘yes’. Utilizing data from mass income surveys, elite surveys, and aggregate time series, as well as theoretical insights from both American and comparative politics, Kelly shows that income inequality is a fundamental part of the U.S. macro political system. Shifts in public opinion, party control of government, and the ideological direction of policy all have important consequences for distributional outcomes. Specifically, shifts to the left produce reductions in inequality through two mechanisms – explicit redistribution and market conditioning.
This book makes an important contribution by providing detailed analysis of the linkages and mechanisms that connect politics to inequality. (Open access to the 1st chapter)
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