Political Behavior

, Volume 40, Issue 2, pp 321–343 | Cite as

The Political Implications of American Concerns About Economic Inequality

Original Paper


This article presents a national measure of Americans’ level of concern about economic inequality from 1966 to 2015, and analyzes the relationship between this construct and public support for government intervention in the economy. Current research argues that concerns about economic inequality are associated with a desire for increased government action, but this relationship has only been formally tested using cross-sectional analyses. I first use a form of dynamic factor analysis to develop a measure of national concern over time. Using an error correction model I then show that an increase in national concern about economic inequality does not lead to a subsequent increase in support for government intervention in the economy. Instead there is some evidence that, once confounding factors are accounted for, an increase in concern could lead to reduced support for government intervention.


Public opinion Economic Inequality Time-series analysis Policy mood Error correction models 



The author thanks James Stimson, Leonard Saxe, Michael Doonan, Grant Ritter, and the anonymous reviewers for their helpful comments and suggestions. Replication files for all results presented in this paper can be found at https://dataverse.harvard.edu/dataverse/polbehavior.

Supplementary material

11109_2017_9399_MOESM1_ESM.docx (31 kb)
Online Appendix (DOCX 31 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Brandeis UniversityWalthamUSA

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