Soc 183 Session 10

Soc 183 Session 10 - Sociology 183 Session 10 Social Policy...

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Sociology 183 Session 10 Social Policy and Ethno-Racial Divisions Dr. Seth D. Hannah
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Is American Politics (d)emocratic? A democratic politics should equally represent different constituencies. Policy questions should be decided on their merits, not on the basis of parochial interests. Certain classes of citizens (rich/poor, black/white) should not be systematically disadvantaged by the structure of social policy.
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Inequality & Democratic Responsiveness (Gilens 2005) The question – Whose preferences are most influential in shaping public policy? The data – 1,781 public opinion questions asked of national samples of U.S. adults (1981-2002)
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Inequality and Democratic Responsiveness The answers: Status quo bias: it’s hard to move American social policy When big change does occur, it’s usually in response to the preferences of high- income voters
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Outcomes More Associated with Policy Views of 90th Percentile
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When high and low income voters disagree on policy, low income voters are not able to convert higher levels of support for their favored policy into a higher likelihood of their preferred outcome
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Middle Income Voters Don’t Fare Much Better
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How Should We Think About Equal Representation of Various Groups? Two Different Views Descriptive representation: Each group should be numerically represented in elected offices proportional to their population distribution Substantive Representation: Policy outcomes should be at times be consistent with minority group interests
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How Should We Think About Equal Representation of Various Groups? Neither of these is really ideal Too difficult to measure interests Numerical representation may not generate results consistent with interests Better option is to simply count winners and losers. How often are the candidate preferences of voters in different groups realized at the polls?
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Who Loses in American Democracy? (Hanjal 2009) The Question Is there another effective way to measure representation? The Answer Counting winners and losers among voters
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Who Loses in American Democracy? The Findings No one group is completely shut out
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Who Loses in American Democracy? The Findings No one group is completely shut out There is a clear racial hierarchy of winning and losing City dwellers and those with no religious affiliation least likely to have their favored Presidential candidate elected African Americans most consistent losers overall.
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Who Loses in American Democracy? Why do blacks lose? Institutional factors Racial bloc voting - Blacks would have to vote together - Whites would have to vote together - Blacks and whites would have to vote against each other
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Democracy? When do blacks win?
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This note was uploaded on 03/27/2012 for the course SOC 183 taught by Professor Sethhannah during the Fall '11 term at Harvard.

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Soc 183 Session 10 - Sociology 183 Session 10 Social Policy...

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