Over the next months, Items will publish essays based on research presented at a spring workshop on the theme “Democratic Participation: A Broken Promise?” cosponsored by the SSRC’s Anxieties of Democracy program’s Participation group and the German-based Democratic Anxieties. Here, Larry Bartels, cochair of the AOD Participation group, draws on recent work on the extent to which established democracies are disproportionately responsive to the preferences of their wealthiest citizens. While this is not news for observers of the United States, Bartels finds very similar patterns across what are often assumed to be the more egalitarian democracies of Europe.
Larry M. Bartels
Larry M. Bartels holds the May Werthan Shayne Chair of Public Policy and Social Science at Vanderbilt University. His scholarship and teaching focus on public opinion, electoral politics, public policy, and political representation. His books include Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age (2nd ed., Russell Sage Foundation and Princeton University Press, 2016) and Democracy for Realists: Why Elections Do Not Produce Responsive Government (with Christopher Achen, Princeton University Press, 2016). He is also the author of numerous scholarly articles and of occasional pieces in the New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and other outlets. Bartels is a codirector of Vanderbilt’s Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions, a trustee of the Russell Sage Foundation, and a past vice president of the American Political Science Association. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and of the American Academy of Political and Social Science and a member of the National Academy of Sciences. In 2015 he received an Andrew Carnegie Fellowship for his work on “Political Inequality in Affluent Democracies: The U.S. in Comparative Perspective.”