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The Politics of Income Inequality in the United States
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Book description

This book revolves around one central question: do political dynamics have a systematic and predictable influence on distributional outcomes in the United States? 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 US 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. Whereas many previous studies focus only on the distributional impact of redistribution, this book shows that such a narrow strategy is misguided. In fact, market mechanisms matter far more than traditional redistribution in translating macro political shifts into distributional outcomes.

Reviews

Reviews of the hardback:‘[T]his political scientist goes beyond previous efforts by using statistical analysis to determine how federal spending and taxes affect the distribution of income inequality in the US.’

D. B. Robertson Source: Choice

‘Nathan Kelly’s new book … makes a worthy contribution … by providing detailed analysis of the linkages and mechanisms that connect politics to inequality.’

Ruy Teixeira Source: Political Science Quarterly

‘… valuable, worth reading and grappling with.’

Lane Kenworthy Source: Perspectives on Politics

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