Comparative European Politics

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 204–219 | Cite as

Politized coalitions: Social affinity and the politics of redistribution

Original Article


Does the structure of inequality in a society matter for the amount of redistribution from rich to poor? New, groundbreaking research indicates this to be the case: Where the market income of the middle class is comparably close to that of the poor, a cross-class coalition between the two groups emerges. This cross-class coalition will tend to favor a generous welfare state and extensive redistribution. We add to this in two ways. First, we complement the theoretical framework by highlighting the role of the politicization of multiculturalism. We posit that the social affinity between the middle class and the poor is lower when multiculturalism becomes politicized. Second, we provide new information on the mechanism by which social affinity affects redistribution. When the income of the middle class is comparatively close to the income of the poor, more people vote for left-leaning parties; yet as multiculturalism becomes politicized, this effect disappears.


welfare state redistribution inequality social affinity politicization skew 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ministry of FinanceCopenhagen KDenmark
  2. 2.Aarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark

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