CEP/STICERD Applications Seminars
"Compensate the Losers?" Economy-policy preferences and partisan realignment in the US
Ilyana Kuziemko (Princeton University), joint with Nicolas Longuet Marx and Suresh Naidu
Monday 16 May 2022 16:00 - 17:30
Many of our seminars and public events this year will continue as in person or as hybrid (online and in person) events. Please check our website listings and Twitter feed @STICERD_LSE for updates.
Unless otherwise specified, in-person seminars are open to the public.
Those unable to join the seminars in-person are welcome to participate via zoom if the event is hybrid.
About this event
Why have less educated voters abandoned center-left parties in rich democracies in recent decades? While much recent literature highlights the role of cultural issues, we argue that, at least in the US, the Democratic Party's evolution on economic issues has played an important role. We show that lower levels of education predict strong support for “predistribution" policies (e.g., guaranteed jobs, public works, a higher minimum wage, protectionism, and support for union organizing) much more than for redistribution policies (taxes and transfers). This robust support for predistribution among the less educated is mostly unchanged since the 1940s. We then move to the \supply side" of economic policies: Congressional roll-call votes exhibit a decline in predistribution legislation while Democrats are in power, whereas redistribution-related legislation has remained steady. We also document changes in the supply of Democratic politicians. Today, Democratic politicians are far more likely to come themselves from elite educational backgrounds than Republicans, whereas the reverse was true before the 1990s, which might help explain why they no longer propose the predistribution policies favored by the less educated. We then examine the intersection of the demand and supply sides of economic policy by showing that today the less educated are more likely than others to say that Republicans are the party that will keep the country prosperous, whereas from 1948 until the 1990s the reverse pattern held.