Conceptualizing and Measuring Political Inequality in a Cross-National Perspective

In: Comparative Sociology
Gwangeun Choi Department of Government, University of Essex 2591 UK

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It is widely believed that economic inequality significantly affects political inequality, and vice versa. However, there has been a lack of empirical evidence about this relationship, particularly, in cross-national comparative research. This is largely because cross-national measures of political inequality are underdeveloped. To fill this gap, this study introduces a new way of conceptualizing and measuring political inequality and constructs the Political Inequality Index (PII), which is mainly based on objective indicators. Additionally, the Political Power Inequality Index (PPII) based on subjective indicators is presented as an alternative measure. This research then explores the features of these measures and investigates the impact of economic inequality on political inequality with the measures. The dynamic panel data analysis controlling for endogeneity provides little evidence that income inequality has a significant effect on political inequality, however.

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