Tuesday, October 23, 2012

James K. Galbraith and J. Travis Hale — The rich, the poor, and the presidency

A recent paper from the Russell Sage Foundation reports that income-based residential segregation in America has risen sharply over the past 40 years; in 1970 about 65 percent of families lived in middle-income neighborhoods but only 44 percent do so today. The rest now live in neighborhoods that are distinctly either rich or poor, with affluent Americans being especially likely to be surrounded by their income peers. These findings parallel estimates we have been making, from different data, since 2005. In a generation, the spatial polarization of incomes has become an American fact of life.
Does this fact have political implications? We believe it may. Indeed, there seems to be a party that’s benefiting from increasing residential segregation by income – and, oddly enough, it’s the Democrats.
The Columbia political scientist Andrew Gelman has noted an apparent paradox: in presidential elections rich people tend to vote Republican, but rich states tend to vote Democratic. This can happen because the income-voting relationship differs from state to state. Thus in wealthy but arch-blue Connecticut the relationship is much weaker than in non-wealthy and arch-red Mississippi – a fact that prompted Gelman to ask, in the title to one article, “What’s the Matter with Connecticut?”
But why should the wealthy in (say) Connecticut (or California) tend to be Democrats while those in Mississippi (or Texas) so rarely are? We suggest a possible explanation: It’s not where the wealth is that matters — it’s how insulated it is from where it isn’t.
Reuters Opinion | The Great Debate
The rich, the poor, and the presidency
James K. Galbraith and J. Travis Hale
(h/t Kevin Fathi via email)


Trixie said...

In a generation, the spatial polarization of incomes has become an American fact of life

Duh. Thanks Captain Obvious. I don't know where the hell Galbraith grew up, but as a new rule, all economists need to come from inner cities as they pick themselves up from their "bootstraps" to make such "Insight for the Ages" revelations.

Here is another "insight": Low-income red state voters think they "provide" for blue states. Low-income blue state voters think that's actually true.

And everyone votes accordingly.

paul meli said...

There's no cure for stupid Trixie. All we can do is sit back and watch.

Matt Franko said...

"That is, in Mississippi, rich and poor tend to live quite near each other, inside the same towns, counties and school districts, while in Connecticut, which is a well-known mosaic of wealthy and working-class towns, they don’t."

This is why on the right you often hear: "I don't see class" (Rick Santorum comes to recent mind)...

When those of us on the right say: "we don't see class" we are not lying... (FD: I myself do not see class, it is not important to me, I'm basically blind to it).

this is born out by this data here where you have "wealthy" willing to live among "the poor" in the red states... these people dont see the class distinction so it is not important to where they choose to live...

In the blue states, it looks like they are elitists who see themselves as too good to want to live among "the poor"... and never miss an opportunity to point out class distinctions (Marx, who was always an exogenous money person, comes to mind here)...