Political Voice and Economic Inequality across Nations and Time

2017 – 2020, funded by Poland’s National Science Centre

PI: Joshua K. Dubrow

The purpose of this project is to advance the theory, methods, and empirical base for studying the relationship between political inequality and economic inequality. Two 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? and (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 mediate this connection. Whereas a basic assumption of modern democracy is that the voice of all citizens can be heard in government, economic resources (and their skewed distribution) influence political voice. Political voice refers to how citizens can express their interests to government. Political voice inequality is the extent of structured differences in influence – directly via political participation and indirectly through parties elected to parliament – over government decisions. The main hypothesis for multi-level models is that political representation and economic inequality as macro-level characteristics will impact political participation at the micro-level, above and beyond the characteristics of political institutions. The main hypothesis for country-level models is that political voice inequality and economic inequality are dynamic, interactive, and mutually influencing.

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 or sufficiently tested our hypotheses. To solve the scientific puzzles posed above, 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. To accomplish the tasks of this project, we propose to establish an international research team and develop a research infrastructure based on the resources of Cross-National Studies: Interdisciplinary Research and Training Program (, a joint endeavor of the Polish Academy of Sciences and The Ohio State University (OSU).

Methodological Issues in Accounting for Intersectionality in the Quantitative Analysis of Cross-national Survey Data (book chapters)

Experience of Joblessness in Poland (book)

Dynamics of Class and Stratification in Poland (book, CEU Press)