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Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America
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Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America

3.74 of 5 stars 3.74  ·  rating details  ·  35 ratings  ·  6 reviews
Can a country be a democracy if its government only responds to the preferences of the rich? In an ideal democracy, all citizens should have equal influence on government policy--but as this book demonstrates, America's policymakers respond almost exclusively to the preferences of the economically advantaged. "Affluence and Influence" definitively explores how political in ...more
ebook, 352 pages
Published July 22nd 2012 by Princeton University Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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I chanced to come across this book while watching an interview with the author on TV. The subject matter and the interview were interesting and it made me want to read the book. Soon after starting to read it, I realized that it is actually aimed more at academics than lay readers like me. The book contains extensive use of Regression Analysis, concepts like Net Interest Group Alignment Index and measurement of many variables related to this subject. Though it is not an easy read, one can still ...more
Flora Horvath
The link between political inequality and income level in the US is a no-brainer: outsize power tends to accrue where economic elites move serious money. In his study Gilens does a fine job of presenting how this contemporary shift from democracy to plutocracy emerged here and now. Though it’s an accepted reality that affluence moves political change (more specifically, independent, large expenditures made by individuals and businesses move policy), it’s mind-blowing to digest the side-by-side d ...more
Billie Pritchett
Martin Gilens's book Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America is a very important book that is not very fun to read. It is sort of an extended version of a paper that Gilens coauthored with Benjamin Page. Gilens and Page released a study titled "Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Privilege" (available HERE), which created quite a controversy with its findings. The study's finding concluded that verifiably only the interests of A ...more
John Lathers
A really excellent piece that attempts to draw together a wealth of recent studies and original statistical analysis into a useful narrative for policymakers. Warning: The book reads very much like a dry text book, so be prepared for a bit of a slog. Also, some knowledge of statistics would be very useful for the reader. This piece seems really only for people who want to get a nuanced understanding of Gilens' work. For others, several articles and summaries are readily available to provide the ...more
better off just reading the 30 page journal article than the whole damn book
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Martin Gilens is Professor of Politics at Princeton University. His research examines representation, public opinion, and mass media, especially in relation to inequality and public policy.

Professor Gilens is the author of Affluence Influence Economic Inequality and Political Power in America (2012, Princeton University Press) and Why Americans Hate Welfare Race Media and the Politics of Antipover
More about Martin Gilens...
Why Americans Hate Welfare: Race, Media, and the Politics of Antipoverty Policy

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