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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

This event is both online and in person

SAL 3.05, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH

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.

Participants are expected to adhere to the CEP Events Code of Conduct.


This event will take place in SAL 3.05, 3rd Floor Conference Room, Sir Arthur Lewis Building, LSE, 32 Lincoln's Inn Fields, London WC2A 3PH.

The building is labelled SAL on the LSE campus map. You can also find us on Google Maps. For further information, go to contact us.

This series is part of the CEP's Labour Markets programme.