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Responsiveness Bias in 51 American Communities

Paul D. Schumaker and Russell W. Getter
American Journal of Political Science
Vol. 21, No. 2 (May, 1977), pp. 247-281
DOI: 10.2307/2110494
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2110494
Page Count: 35
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Responsiveness Bias in 51 American Communities
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Abstract

This paper is concerned with responsiveness bias, a previously uninvestigated dimension of political inequality, which refers to the degree to which governments respond unequally to the public policy preferences of various community subpopulations (e.g., blacks, whites, upper-class and lower-class citizens). An empirical examination of responsiveness bias in the 51 cities of the Permanent Community Sample reveals that responsiveness is usually biased in favor of the advantaged (upper-SES, white) segments of the population, although a few cities exhibit bias in favor of the disadvantaged. An analysis of the environmental and political factors affecting responsiveness bias shows that larger, more wealthy cities, with well-organized interest groups having little minority representation, are most likely to bias their policies in ways preferred by the advantaged.

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