I was very pleased to see Bryan Caplan’s review this morning on Econlog. He really gets to the heart of Marty Gilens’s new book AFFLUENCE AND INFLUENCE: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. From the review:
“In The Myth of the Rational Voter, I discuss several mechanisms that might explain why, given public opinion, democracies’ policies are better than you’d expect. But I was simply unaware of the facts presented in Martin Gilens‘ new Affluence and Influence: Economic Inequality and Political Power in America. Gilens compiles a massive data set of public opinion surveys and subsequent policy outcomes, and reaches a shocking conclusion: Democracy has a strong tendency to simply supply the policies favored by the rich. When the poor, the middle class, and the rich disagree, American democracy largely ignores the poor and the middle class….”
As Caplan mentions later in the review, Gilens’s findings are going to be misinterpreted by the left and the right. He also found in AFFLUENCE AND INFLUENCE, to many liberals dismay, “American democracy largely ignores the poor and the middle class” for the better!