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Unequal Democracy: the impact of political inequality Current

citizenship , constitution , democracy , equality , human rights , political ideas

 

 

A central claim of democracy is that every citizen’s preference, no matter what their status, should count equally. There are, however, good reasons for supposing that the principle of political equality is under threat and that politics is increasingly becoming the preserve of the affluent and the powerful.

IPPR’s previous research has shown that political participation is increasingly skewed by social class and age. For instance, the turnout gap in elections between top-quartile earners and bottom-quartile earners in the UK has doubled since the 1960s.

These trends are now well-documented but what is much less understood is the extent to which rising political inequality affects the policy outcomes generated by government and the political system more widely. In other words is the political system less responsive to those groups that do not participate? Despite the immense importance attached to the principle of political equality in our democratic culture we know very little about how political inequalities shape public policy. In particular the relationship between political inequality and economic inequality is poorly understood.

IPPR’s research will:

  • explore and analyse the level of political inequality in the UK
  • analyse the relationship between the policy preferences of different groups and actual outcomes in decision making
  • investigate the relationship between political inequality and economic inequality
  • understand the degree to which policy recommendations designed to achieve greater political equality will help tackle economic inequality.