Does the numerical underrepresentation of the working class in congress matter?


Journal Article

Working-class citizens have been numerically underrepresented in policymaking institutions throughout most of America's history. Little is known, however, about the political consequences of this enduring feature of our democratic system. This essay examines the relationship between legislators' class backgrounds and their votes on economic policy in the House of Representatives during the twentieth century. Like ordinary Americans, representatives from working-class occupations exhibit more liberal economic preferences than other legislators, especially those from profit-oriented professions. These findings provide the first evidence of a link between the descriptive and substantive representation of social classes in the United States. © 2012 The Comparative Legislative Research Center of The University of Iowa.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Carnes, N

Published Date

  • February 1, 2012

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 37 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 5 - 34

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1939-9162

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0362-9805

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1111/j.1939-9162.2011.00033.x

Citation Source

  • Scopus