Title

Understanding Economic Biases in Representation: Income, Resources, and Policy Representation in the 110th House

Publication Date

2012

Journal

POLITICAL RESEARCH QUARTERLY

Volume

65

Issue

4

First Page

938

Last Page

951

Abstract

This article explores the extent, and possible causes, of income-based biases in representation of citizens by members of the 110th Congress. The author finds that the preferences of wealthier citizens are modestly but significantly better reflected in the choices of their congressional representatives than are the preferences of poorer citizens. More importantly, the author shows that education, political sophistication, political engagement, ethnicity, and other sociodemographic factors can explain only a small part of this representation gap. Biases in representation across income lines appear to be driven by income alone, or at least not by politically relevant factors correlated with income.

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