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Beyond Equal Rights: Equality of Opportunity in Political Participation

Paul Hufe and Andreas Peichl ()

Review of Income and Wealth, 2020, vol. 66, issue 3, 477-511

Abstract: While it is well documented that political participation is stratified by socioeconomic characteristics, it is an open question how this finding bears on the evaluation of the democratic process with respect to its fairness. In this paper, we draw on the analytical tools developed in the equality‐of‐opportunity literature to answer this question. We investigate to what extent differential political participation is determined by factors that lie beyond individual control (circumstances) rather than being the result of individual effort. Using rich panel data from the United States, we indeed find a lack of political opportunity for the types with the most disadvantaged circumstances. Opportunity shortages tend to complement each other across different forms of participation and persist over time. Family characteristics and psychological conditions during childhood emanate as the strongest determinants of political opportunities.

Date: 2020
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Working Paper: Beyond Equal Rights: Equality of Opportunity in Political Participation (2018) Downloads
Working Paper: Beyond equal rights: Equality of opportunity in political participation (2016) Downloads
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