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Political Rights and Income Inequality: A Cross-National Test

Miles Simpson
American Sociological Review
Vol. 55, No. 5 (Oct., 1990), pp. 682-693
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2095864
Page Count: 12
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Political Rights and Income Inequality: A Cross-National Test
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Abstract

Among contemporary nations, the relationship between income equality and national wealth exhibits an inverted-U shape--low among the richest and poorest nations, and high for nations with intermediate wealth. To examine the reasons for this relationship, I hypothesize that both political democracy and educational enrollment are related in a similar way to income inequality. Two data sets are used in this analysis: modified version of Muller's set of 62 nations circa 1965-1975 and Hoover's data set. Multiple regression reveals that measures of political democracy and the educational enrollment levels have an inverted-U relationship with income inequality. National wealth (GNP) had no consistent direct effect on income inequality. A satisfactory specification of national levels of income inequality must include the polynomial functions of political democracy and education.

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