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Changing Inequalities in Rich CountriesAnalytical and Comparative Perspectives$
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Wiemer Salverda, Brian Nolan, Daniele Checchi, Ive Marx, Abigail McKnight, István György Tóth, and Herman van de Werfhorst

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780199687435

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2014

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199687435.001.0001

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Inequality, Legitimacy, and the Political System

Inequality, Legitimacy, and the Political System

(p.218) 9 Inequality, Legitimacy, and the Political System
Changing Inequalities in Rich Countries

Robert Andersen

Brian Burgoon

Herman van de Werfhorst

Oxford University Press

This chapter studies the complex relationship between income inequality and the legitimacy of politics. By focusing on outcomes concerning national and supranational politics, the chapter argues that political correlates to inequality may not only widen cleavages in political interest, attitudes to democracy, and political representation, but may additionally have serious repercussions on the legitimacy of the democratic political system. The chapter demonstrates that a potential threat to the political system originates from ill-suited representation of lower income groups, and of their interests concerning the income distribution in society. Low salience of redistributive issues is not only observed through subjective political identification, but also through unequal political representation.

Keywords:   inequality, legitimacy, democracy, unequal representation, lower incomes

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