Legislature size and inequality: Democratic participation and authoritarian dilution

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Abstract

This paper argues that the ratio of legislature size to population is crucial for explaining income inequality. Larger legislatures (with respect to population size) promote equality in democratic regimes. The opposite effect is hypothesised for non-democracies, although the empirical results for this group are less significant. I suggest that larger legislatures decrease inequality in democracies by enhancing representative linkages and increasing political participation. On the contrary, they dilute the strength of opposition in authoritarian regimes, leading to inegalitarian outcomes. This study carries strong implications for the understanding of legislatures and the formation of inequality across political systems. Copyright © 2017 Taylor & Francis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)49-70
JournalPolitical Science
Volume69
Issue number1
Early online date05 Jun 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2017

Citation

Wong, M. Y. H. (2017). Legislature size and inequality: Democratic participation and authoritarian dilution. Political Science, 69(1), 49-70. doi: 10.1080/00323187.2017.1310509

Keywords

  • Authoritarianism
  • Democracy
  • Income inequality
  • Legislature size
  • Representation
  • Turnout

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