Presentation Title
Bureaucratic Capacity and Class Voting: Evidence from Across the World and the United States
Columbia University
Start Date
Start Time
End Time
Gibson 296

Kimuli Kasara & Pavithra Suryanarayan

Why do the rich and poor vote for different parties in some places and not others? We argue that voting along class lines is more likely to occur where states can tax the income and assets of the wealthy. In low bureaucratic capacity states, the rich are less likely to participate in electoral politics because they have less to fear from redistributive policy. When wealthy citizens abstain from voting, politicians cannot credibly campaign on anti-tax platforms,  leading  partisan preferences to converge across income groups. Using cross-national survey data, we show that there is more class voting in countries with greater fiscal capacity. We also explore subnational voting in the United States in the mid-1930s, when local revenue collection and party systems were less dependent on national economic policy. Across the  U.S., we observe more  classvoting in states with higher fiscal capacity.
Kimuli Kasara is an associate professor of political science at
Columbia University. In the African context, her work focuses on
ethnic demography, political violence, and distributive politics. She
has  published in the American Political Science Review, the American
Journal of Political Science,  and the Journal of Politics.
Photo by Mara Lavitt
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