Interview with Constantin Manuel Bosancianu on Party–Voter Ideological Congruence and Socioeconomic Biases in Representation

Constantin Manuel Bosancianu, of WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany, presented the paper, “Party–Voter Ideological Congruence and Socio-Economic Biases in Representation: OECD over the Past 5 Decades” at the Politics and Inequality conference held in Warsaw, Poland in December 2018.

Constantin Manuel Bosancianu is a postdoctoral researcher in the “Institutions and Political Inequality” unit at the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB). He focuses on the intersection of political economy and electoral behavior: how to measure political inequalities between citizens of both developed and developing countries, and what the linkages between political and economic inequalities are. Dr. Bosancianu received his PhD in 2007 from the Central European University, Budapest, with a dissertation on how the dynamics of party ideological shifts, economic inequality, and individual political participation unfold over time. He is interested in statistics, data visualization, and the history of Leftist parties. In the past, Dr. Bosancianu taught or assisted with teaching methods courses at the European Consortium for Political Research (ECPR) Winter and Summer Methods Schools, University of Heidelberg or University of Gießen, with a focus on regression analysis, R, Bayesian analysis, and multilevel modelling.

We asked Constantin Manuel Bosancianu for an extended abstract of his Politics and Inequality conference paper and, via email, some questions about his research. We are thankful for his positive and detailed response.

Extended Abstract

Disparities in political representation between socio-economic groups, if perpetuated over time, can lead to growing disenchantment with the political process, dropout from political life, and even the appearance of new political movements that challenge representative institutions (Taggart, 2002). Starting with the early investigations of Gilens (2005, 2009, 2012) for the US context, a series of analyses have found disparities in political representation across a larger number of consolidated democracies (Elsässer, Hense, & Schäfer, 2018; Giger, Rosset, & Bernauer, 2012; Peters & Ensink, 2015; Rosset, Giger, & Bernauer, 2013; Rosset, 2013). Despite the consistent results, we continue to have very limited knowledge about the causes and mechanisms for these disparities.

This analysis probes into this issue. By relying on an original data set of merged voter studies in 30 OECD countries, going as far back in time as the 1960s and 70s, I compute a measure of ideological congruence between voters and political parties. Called the Earth Mover’s Distance (Lupu, Selios, & Warner, 2017), it is based on citizens’ self-placement on a standard Left-Right axis, as well as their placement of parties on the same scale (Powell Jr., 2009). By relying on voters’ perceptions of parties rather than legislator self-placements (Lupu & Warner, 2018), my data overcomes the potential flaw of different understandings of “Left” and “Right” between people and political elites. This measure of congruence is then used to ascertain: (1) if representation gaps between voters at the opposite end of the socio-economic spectrum are found in my sample, and (2) whether the gaps in representation are associated with a demand-side characteristic (disparities in political participation between the same socio-economic groups) or a supply-side factor (party ideological changes over time).

Preliminary findings do little to dispel the mystery surrounding the causes of unequal representation for poorer citizens, though they conclusively establish that such a gap exists. They furthermore establish that overall quality of representation is associated with disparities in participation: contexts where turnout between income groups is more unequal have worse overall representation of income groups. However, even when relying on a measure of participation disparities generated from individual-level data, no clear association exists between disparities in political voice and gaps in representation between income groups. Neither do party-system dynamics appear to explain the disparity in ideological convergence between income groups. Though inconclusive, the findings confirm those of Lupu and Warner (2018) and will hopefully spur the focus on additional mechanisms to explain the relative disadvantage in representation that poorer citizens are faced with.

Interview

The research you presented at the Politics and Inequality conference was on party–voter congruence. How did you get interested in this topic? And is this topic connected to other research that you are doing?

The interest in political representation, for which party-voter ideological congruence is one proxy, came about through my focus on understanding how to measure the facets of political inequality between individuals and groups. For the past few years I have been interested in disparities in political voice between individuals and groups—aspects such as turnout, non-electoral participation, or political efficacy. These are shaped by individual resource endowments, which naturally generate inequalities in voice. This is only part of the story, though. Another part is how disparities in voice and political influence are shaped by systemic features pertaining to, say, the electoral system or party system configurations. Some of Orit Kedar’s work is an excellent example of this, as is that of Karen L. Jusko. My own attempts refer to another feature of the system: the distribution of parties along a Left–Right ideological dimension.

Continue reading “Interview with Constantin Manuel Bosancianu on Party–Voter Ideological Congruence and Socioeconomic Biases in Representation”

Interview with Jan Falkowski on Political Power and Land Inequality in Poland

Jan Falkowski, of the University of Warsaw, Poland, recently presented a paper, “Do Political and Economic Inequalities Go Together? Mayors’ Turnover, Elite Families and the Distribution of Agricultural Land” at the Politics and Inequality conference held in Warsaw, Poland.

Jan Falkowski is an Assistant Professor with the University of Warsaw, Faculty of Economic Sciences, Chair of Political Economy. His primary research interests are in the impact of institutions and politics on economic processes, and the reciprocal influence of economic conditions on institutional environment and political life. His paper, “Promoting Change or Preserving the Status Quo? The Consequences of Dominating Local Politics By Agricultural Interests” was published in Land Use Policy (2017), and his paper with Grażyna Bukowska  and Piotr Wójcik, “The Political Power of Large‐Scale Farmers and Land Inequality: Some Evidence from Poland,” was just published by Sociologia Ruralis (2018).

We asked Jan Falkowski some questions about his research.

The research you presented at the Politics and Inequality conference was on the economic impact of the distribution of political power. How did you get interested in this topic? And how is this topic connected to other research that you are doing?

The interlinkage between  political and economic power has always been of interest to me. Looking at the connection between political and economic inequalities seemed to me as a natural consequence of studying the former relationship since the distribution of power and the distribution of resources (be it political or economic) are closely related.

In this paper, you use an original dataset. Please briefly describe these data and why they are well-suited for your research.

Measuring economic inequality poses some difficulties as people are typically not so willing to share with others detailed information on how much wealth they have. We needed therefore to overcome this problem or, at least, to try to do so. We discovered that it should be possible to achieve this goal by looking at a specific, but coherent, part of the population, namely farmers. What we do in the paper is we take advantage of the fact that in Poland the information on those who received agricultural subsidies is public. So it is possible to gather, at the individual level, the information on how much money a given person received in the form of the so-called direct payments. In the system that Poland uses to subsidize farmers, direct payments are granted to farmers based on a national flat rate per eligible hectare, and – contrary to what we observe in many other EU Member States – they do not depend on the historical reference period. Thus, the distribution of direct payments at the municipality level can serve as a good approximation of land use distribution. This, in turn, can be used to measure the distribution of wealth.  Obviously, the shortcoming is that it can serve as a good approximation of wealth distribution only in rural areas, in which the dependence on agriculture as a source of living is high. In the paper we collate these data with the data on mayors’ turnover which we use as an approximation of political inequality.

Continue reading “Interview with Jan Falkowski on Political Power and Land Inequality in Poland”

Interview with Katerina Vrablikova on Economic Hardship, Politicization and Protest

Katerina Vrablikova, of the University of Bath, UK, recently presented a paper, “Economic Hardship, Politicization and Protest in Western Democracies,” at the Politics and Inequality conference held in Warsaw, Poland.

Since Fall 2018, Kateřina Vráblíková has been a senior lecturer in Politics at the Department of Politics, Languages and International Studies at the University of Bath. During Spring 2019, she is also an Istvan Deak Visiting Assistant Professor of Political Science at Columbia University. She does research on social movements, political participation, political attitudes and culture, and democracy. Her book, What Kind of Democracy? Participation, Inclusiveness and Contestation was published by Routledge in 2017.

We asked Katerina Vrablikova for an extended abstract of her Politics and Inequality conference paper and, via email, some questions about her research. We are thankful for her positive and detailed response.

Extended Abstract: “Economic Hardship, Politicization and Protest in Western Democracies” 

How and why does economic crisis and similar situations trigger protest of poor? The paper argues that in addition to the expansion of the pool of deprived people, who can potentially protest (composition mechanism), events like the Economic crisis also provide a supportive political environment for political mobilization of socio-economically excluded groups (mobilization mechanism). As potentially very threatening and unpredictable event, economic crisis can skyrocket the salience of the economic problems in national politics. This opens space for the re-definition of economic issues and identities and for political mobilization of socio-economically deprived people, who, under normal circumstances do not participate much because they lack resources necessary for participation. Typically, protest attracts relatively resourceful and financially secure people, who get active around a variety of issues that are not directly related to their personal situation, such as environmental, anti-war, women’s rights, anti-corruption mobilizations. Protest of socio-economically deprived people is different. It is motivated by the personal experience of bad socio-economic conditions that becomes a purpose of mobilization and tales place despite the lack of individual resources. The article uses data from four waves of European Social Survey that are combined with macro-economic data and aggregated survey data (Eurobarometer) on public concern about national economy (percentage of people saying that the economic situation is very bad). The results show that poor people were most likely to protest in times of the Economic crisis in countries where the economic problems raised a very high concern. In the period before the Great Recession and in countries where economic problems were not recognized as severe and salient, poor people are much less likely to protest. In this special situation of economic crisis, poor thus get mobilized and join the better-off protesters, who are the usual suspects at ordinary protests that get mobilized by salient issues also during normal times.

Interview 

The research you presented at the Politics and Inequality conference was on the economic crisis and protest. How did you get interested in this topic? And how is this topic connected to other research that you are doing?

In summer 2012, the Czech Republic experienced relatively high level of anti-austerity protest. That time I just defended my dissertation on non-electoral participation and worked at the Czech Academy of Sciences. I was asked in a radio interview about the causes of such unusually high protest mobilization and I, in fact, was not able to tell much in reply. Because, normally, we would say that it is more resourceful people and people with post-materialist values, who usually participate in politics more, including protest. These protests, however, did not seem to fit to this “privileged postmaterialist protester” story. For instance, an anti-Roma march in a Czech regional capital (in fact one that I come from) was the largest collective mobilization in the city since the 1989 revolution and, according to observers, the participants included a handful of rightwing extremists and low-income and low-educated Czechs. The profile of participants thus corresponded to old social movement theories that expect socio-economic grievances to trigger protest and that were considered disapproved in mainstream political participation and social movement literature. So, I followed this up and read more about the role of mobilizing grievances. It turned out that political context might play an important role in activation of the relatively unusual grievance participatory mechanismAnd this point very well fitted to my general interest in how political environment shapes citizens’ activism and preferences. In my other research, I have examined the role of political institutions and political culture on individual non-electoral participation.

Continue reading “Interview with Katerina Vrablikova on Economic Hardship, Politicization and Protest”

Report on the Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw December 2018

Download a PDF of the report here: Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw, Poland Report December 2018

The international conference, “Politics and Inequality across Nations and Time: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches,” was held at IFiS PAN, December 12 – 14, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland. The event is part of the research project, “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time,” funded by the National Science Centre, Poland (2016/23/B/HS6/03916) from 2017 to 2020. The PI of that grant is Joshua K. Dubrow. The purpose of the grant project is to advance the theory, methods, and empirical base for studying the relationship between political inequality and economic inequality.

The conference brought together young and established scholars of the social sciences from the Europe, USA, and Latin America. Presentations were on substantive and methodological issues related to political voice and economic inequality.

Conference Program and Titles and Abstracts

The conference featured two keynote speakers, five sessions, and a roundtable discussion. Professor Andrzej Rychard, Director of IFiS PAN, officially opened the conference.

Frederick Solt, an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa, USA, whose interests are in comparative political behavior and political economy from a cross-national perspective, delivered the first keynote speech. Professor Solt created and maintains the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID). His research appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, and Social Science Quarterly, among others. Professor Solt’s keynote was: “Economic Inequality, Demand for Redistribution, and Redistributive Outcomes: Building the Empirical Foundations for Dynamic Comparative Research.” In this speech, Professor Solt described SWIID, which he continually refines and updates, as a source of data on income inequality and redistribution. He then discussed his recent project, the Dynamic Comparative Public Opinion (DCPO) that is designed “to overcome the sparsity and incomparability of available survey data and provide comparable estimates of public opinion regarding redistribution for many countries over many years” (Conference abstract).

Catherine Bolzendahl, an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine, USA, whose interests are in gender and political change cross-nationally and over time, delivered the second keynote speech. Professor Bolzendahl’s research has appeared in Social Forces, European Sociological Review, and Politics & Gender, among other outlets.  Professor Bolzendahl’s keynote was: “Women’s Political Empowerment: A Path toward Progress in Uncertain Times.” In this keynote, Professor Bolzendahl presented an overview of her long-running cross-national research on women’s unequal political voice, including her recent co-edited book Measuring Women’s Political Empowerment Across the Globe: Strategies, Challenges and Future Research (2017, Palgrave). Her research “highlights the continued urgency to understand gender inequality through social and political research and data collection” (Conference abstract).

Sessions in the conference included the topics of economic redistribution and the elite; political protest; the association of economic inequality, political power, and political participation; gender and politics; and voting behavior. Most papers featured quantitative methods and many papers in these sessions included Professor Solt’s SWIID data and his theories of the association between economic inequality and political participation. Professor Bolzendahl was the discussant on the gender and politics session that featured presentations by Professor Renata Siemienska, who has produced influential research in the field of women and politics over the last four decades, and by GSSR PhD candidate Nika Palaguta, who co-edited the methodology book, Towards Electoral Control in Central and Eastern Europe (2016, IFiS Publishers). The topic of ex-post harmonization of cross-national surveys was presented by IFiS PAN assistant professor Irina Tomescu-Dubrow (affiliated with The Ohio State University OSU) and IFiS PAN and OSU professor Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, who are co-PIs (with J. Craig Jenkins) on the National Science Foundation grant, “Survey Data Recycling: New Analytic Framework, Integrated Database, and Tools for Cross-national Social, Behavioral and Economic Research.”

The roundtable discussion, “Aggregating Survey Data: Problems and Solutions,” was led by Fred Solt, Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, Catherine Bolzendahl, and WZB Berlin Social Science Center post-doctoral scholar Constantin Manuel Bosancianu.  Aggregate measures of political behavior and attitudes are part of the project “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time,” including the production of a publicly available database of country-year level indicators of political voice inequality, constructed on the basis of cross-national survey data and information from non-survey sources. Roundtable participants discussed the topic and potential measures of political voice.  This roundtable provided new knowledge and a basis for research publications on this popular methodological issue.

Funding for this event came from the National Science Centre, Poland (“Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time” 2016/23/B/HS6/03916), from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, and a conference grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences, with organizational support from IFiS PAN and CONSIRT – Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program of The Ohio State University and PAN 

Participants

There were 34 attendees from Europe, the United States, and Latin America. Of the fifteen conference presenters, eight were from institutions outside of Poland. Students from the Graduate School for Social Research and the University of Warsaw attended. Participants hailed from across the social sciences, including sociology, political science, and economics.

The conference participants were: Frederick Solt, University of Iowa, USA; Catherine Bolzendahl, University of California-Irvine, USA; Renira Angeles, Central European University, Hungary; Jan Falkowski, University of Warsaw, Poland; Matias Lopez, Catholic University of Chile, Chile; Katerina Vrablikova, University of Bath, UK; Viktoriia Muliavka, Graduate School for Social Research, Poland; Olga Zelinska, Graduate School for Social Research, Poland; Gwangeun Choi, University of Essex, UK; Matthew Polacko, Royal Holloway, University of London, UK; Irina Tomescu-Dubrow and Kazimierz M. Slomczynski, IFiS PAN, CONSIRT, and The Ohio State University; Renata Siemienska, University of Warsaw, Poland; Nika Palaguta, Graduate School for Social Research, Poland; Constantin Manuel Bosancianu, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany; Piotr Zagorski, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain; Michal Kotnarowski, Institute of Political Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences; Marta Kolczynska, post-doctoral scholar of the grant at IFiS PAN; and Joshua K. Dubrow, IFiS PAN, who was lead organizer of the conference.

Outcomes 

There were several outcomes of this conference. First, the conference highlighted the fact that IFiS PAN continues to be a major research center in the social sciences in Poland. Second, the conference built and strengthened a network of scholars who work on the topic of politics and inequality in cross-national and comparative perspective. Third, participants will use the conference and the networks as a springboard for publishing their research in high-quality publications. On that score, Joshua K. Dubrow and Matias Lopez intend to produce a guest edited issue of a peer-reviewed social science journal on the topic of democracy, politics, and inequality, featuring work from scholars at this conference and others in the field. Two of the conference participants, Professor Bolzendahl and Professor Dubrow, are co-editors of the Political Sociology section of Sociology Compass (Wiley Publishers), and invited participants to contribute an article. Fourth, there has been popularization of the event held at IFiS PAN, as conference participants “live Tweeted” the event on Twitter. The conference program and titles and abstracts are published on this website, where there will follow popular articles about conference participants’ presentations and research.

polinq twitter

Politics and Inequality Conference: Program and Abstracts

We are pleased to present the final program and the titles and abstracts for the conference, “Politics and Inequality across Nations and Time: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches,” December 12 – 14, 2018, Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, 72 Nowy Swiat, Warsaw, Poland

Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw December 2018: PROGRAM

Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw December 2018: Abstracts

The conference also features a roundtable on “Aggregating Survey Data: Problems and Solutions.” Here is the description of the conference Roundtable on Aggregating Survey Data 

Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time proposal from 2016

Funding for this event comes from the National Science Centre, Poland (“Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time” 2016/23/B/HS6/03916), from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, and a conference grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences, with organizational support from IFiS PAN and CONSIRT – Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program at The Ohio State University and PAN.

IFiS LogoPAN logo

 

Catherine Bolzendahl to Deliver a Keynote Speech at Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw

Catherine Bolzendahl ( @C_Bolzendahl ) of the University of California – Irvine will deliver a keynote speech at the conference, “Politics and Inequality across Nations and Time: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches,” at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, December 12 – 14, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland.

Professor Bolzendahl’s keynote title:

“Women’s Political Empowerment: A Path Toward Progress in Uncertain Times”

Abstract:

“Few social changes have been as dramatic and rapid as the increased political representation of women worldwide. Scholars and public figures rightfully tout these gains as remarkable evidence of greater gender equality, yet nowhere do women hold equal power to men in influencing and exercising political authority worldwide and efforts to increase women’s political agency are often actively and violently repressed. Addressing these issues means the comprehensive inclusion of women’s political empowerment as cornerstone of global research. I discuss how this is defined in my co-authored scholarship and using findings from my own current research I illustrate three axioms in this approach. First, women’s political empowerment is not a zero-sum game, and gender equality opens, rather than closes, the political domain to all members of society. Second, sex and gender are used simultaneously to create status inequalities that disadvantage women, thus, women’s political empowerment requires special attention given that women are the largest categorical group today experiencing long-term, ongoing barriers to political incorporation worldwide. Third, inequalities in political empowerment cut across multiple statuses and other sources of inequality. In sum, my work highlights the continued urgency to understand gender inequality through social and political research and data collection.”

catherine bolzendahlCatherine Bolzendahl is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of California-Irvine, USA. Professor Bolzendahl’s interests are in political change cross-nationally and over time, gender and politics, and of the meaning of family and gender in the political culture of the U.S. and in Western industrialized democracies. Professor Bolzendahl’s research has appeared in Social Forces, European Sociological Review, and British Journal of Sociology, among others. For information about her research, please visit: https://faculty.sites.uci.edu/catherinebolzendahl/

The conference is funded by Poland’s National Science Centre and a grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences, with organizational support from IFiS PAN, and CONSIRT – Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program of The Ohio State University and PAN (CONSIRT.osu.edu).

The conference is free and open to the public. Click here for more information about the conference. 

 

Frederick Solt to Deliver a Keynote Speech at Politics and Inequality Conference in Warsaw

Frederick Solt ( @fredericksolt ) of the University of Iowa will deliver a keynote speech at the conference, “Politics and Inequality across Nations and Time: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches,” at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, December 12 – 14, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland.

Professor Solt’s keynote title:

“Economic Inequality, Demand for Redistribution, and Redistributive Outcomes: Building the Empirical Foundations for Dynamic Comparative Research.”

Abstract:

“Does rising income inequality in a country yield greater demand for more redistributive policy among its citizens? Does greater public demand prompt more redistribution? The answers to both of these questions are clearly not simply yes or no, but conditional on other circumstances. Assessing hypotheses regarding these circumstances will require comparable data–on inequality, on public opinion, and on redistribution–across space and time. This paper takes up that task. It first evaluates the author’s long-running project, the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID), as a source of data on income inequality and redistribution for this purpose. It then applies the author’s new approach, Dynamic Comparative Public Opinion (DCPO), to overcome the sparsity and incomparability of available survey data and provide comparable estimates of public opinion regarding redistribution for many countries over many years. Finally, it offers an appraisal of whether the combination of these two datasets can serve as a sound basis for further investigation of these two questions on the consequences of income inequality for politics and policy.”

frederick soltFrederick Solt is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Iowa whose interests are in comparative political behavior and political economy from a cross-national perspective. Professor Solt created and maintains the Standardized World Income Inequality Database (SWIID). His research appeared in the American Journal of Political Science, Political Behavior, and Social Science Quarterly, among others. For a full list of his publications and more information about SWIID, please visit his website: https://fsolt.org/

The conference is funded by Poland’s National Science Centre and a grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences, with organizational support from IFiS PAN, and CONSIRT – Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program of The Ohio State University and PAN (CONSIRT.osu.edu).

The conference is free and open to the public. Click here for more information about the conference.

Political Voice and Economic Inequality Conference in Warsaw, Poland

The research project, “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time,” funded by Poland’s National Science Centre, is organizing its first event.

Politics and Inequality Conference PRELIMINARY Program

The interdisciplinary conference, “Politics and Inequality across Nations and Time: Theoretical and Empirical Approaches,” will be held at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences (IFiS PAN), December 12 – 14, 2018 in Warsaw, Poland.

The conference will bring together young and established scholars of the social sciences from the U.S., Latin America, and Europe. Presentations will be on substantive and methodological issues related to political voice and economic inequality. The event is free to the public by reservation. Please contact Joshua K. Dubrow: dubrow.2@osu.edu.

Keynote Speakers:

Frederick Solt, University of Iowa

“Economic Inequality, Demand for Redistribution, and Redistributive Outcomes: Building the Empirical Foundations for Dynamic Comparative Research”

Catherine Bolzendahl, University of California – Irvine

“Women’s Political Empowerment: A Path Toward Progress in Uncertain Times”

The conference also features presentations by:

Katerina Vrablikova, University of Bath, UK

Jan Falkowski, University of Warsaw, Poland

Constantin Manuel Bosancianu, WZB Berlin Social Science Center, Germany

Renira Angeles, Central European University, Hungary

Matias Lopez, Catholic University of Chile

Gwangeun Choi, University of Essex, UK

Piotr Zagorski and Andrés Santana, Universidad Autónoma de Madrid, Spain

and

Professor Renata Siemienska, The R. B. Zajonc Institute for Social Studies, Head of UNESCO Chair “Women -Society- Development”, University of Warsaw, Poland, whose presentation is titled, “Gender inequality and its sources: comparison of politicians and scientists.”

A complete list of presenters and the event program will be available soon.

Funding for this event comes from the National Science Centre, Poland (“Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time” 2016/23/B/HS6/03916), from the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences, and a conference grant from the Polish Academy of Sciences, with organizational support from IFiS PAN and CONSIRT – Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program at The Ohio State University and PAN.

How Do Digital Technologies Impact Political Inequality?

Part I.

Digital technologies have enabled a dystopic political inequality where politics is possible for the few and impossible for the many. The way out is a variant on Timothy Leary’s life advice with a Luddite twist: Turn off the machines, tune out the information noise, and drop in to the homes of family and friends. The way forward is to pop the information bubble, re-connect with human beings, boycott the segmenters, and dare to be brave.

Please allow me to explain.

Voice & Response

Politics is a tool used to gain power over important decisions that impact our lives. This tool has two parts: Voice and Response.

Voice is how we express our political complaints, desires, demands, and interests to our fellow human beings across nations, to our fellow citizens within nations, and to government. Voice activates directly through what social scientists call “political participation,” such as public marches, writing letters to our representatives or to the media, boycotting products, and voluntarily organizing the political interests of particular groups, to name a few. We also activate our political voice indirectly via people and organizations that claim to carry our voice into government, such as parliamentarians, political parties, non-governmental organizations in civil society, and special independent arms of the government (the ombudsperson or special envoy, for example).

Response is what the decision-makers do with our voice. They can respond with mere symbols, such as declaring Black History Month to address institutional racism. They can respond with formal and informal policy initiatives.

We Are Politically Unequal

Today’s modern societies in which digital technology plays a starring role is characterized by political inequality. Political equality is the assumed foundation of modern democracy. Yet, everywhere there is democracy – indeed, everywhere there is politics – there is political inequality. Political inequality is structured differences in influence over government decisions and the outcomes of those decisions. It is inequality of voice and it is inequality of response.

Continue reading “How Do Digital Technologies Impact Political Inequality?”

New Project: Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time

Poland’s National Science Centre has awarded a grant for the project, “Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time” (2016/23/B/HS6/03916) for the period 2017 -2020. The Principal Investigator is Joshua K. Dubrow, Professor of Sociology at the Institute of Philosophy and Sociology, Polish Academy of Sciences.

The purpose of the project is to advance the theory, methods, and empirical base for studying the relationship between political inequality and economic inequality. The fundamental research questions are:

(1) How and to what extent are the main components of political voice inequality – political participation and party representation – related to each other once main features of political and economic institutions are accounted for?

(2) At the macro-level, how and to what extent do political voice inequality and economic inequality influence each other?

This project builds on empirical research on how economic resources and political voice connects, accounting for how political institutions moderate this connection.

The social sciences do not have appropriate cross-national and over-time measures of political voice inequality and thus has never adequately addressed our research questions. Thus, we will create the Political Inequality Database (POLINQ) which is a multi-country multi-year dataset with cross-national measures of political voice inequality from harmonized survey and non-survey data for over 65 democratic countries from 1990 to 2015.

 

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