Working Papers

The Effects of Intergenerational Poverty on Political Participation

Abstract: Does living in poverty over generations impact electoral political participation? For empirical political science, higher income, status and education are traits of individuals with greater electoral political participation (Rosenstone, Hansen, and Reeves 2003; Verba and Nie 1972).  Most research on political participation uses the reference category of white, middle class Americans– the group expected to participate in politics the greatest – and thus fails to explain behaviors of racial and ethnic minorities precisely. Thus, it is to be assumed that given the vast income inequalities, lower income whites and racial and ethnic minorities participate less than higher status Americans. Despite this assumption, few studies have exclusively examined the electoral participation of the poor. While socioeconomic status can suggest other demographics of interest, such as race, gender, education, and neighborhood context, the measure of income at one point in time does not fully capture an individual’s income trajectory or mobility. In this paper, I find that generational histories of income, wealth, and status decrease current day participation among individuals at greater rates than when compared to the effects of single measures at one cross section of time measures of their socioeconomic status, particularly among intergenerationally poor whites and the low-educated.  For African Americans, I find no significant effect of living in intergenerational poverty as African Americans are more likely to become habitual voters. Indeed, the effects of indirect and direct socialization during adolescent effect current day political behavior and depressed participation among the poor.

Poster Presentation at APSA Political Psychology Pre-Conference, 2017. 

Rural Consciousness or Linked-Fate? Black Working-Class & Attitudes About Social Policies (Co-Authored with Princess Williams and Brianna White) 

Abstract: Much of the work related to link fate, income, and African American political behavior is concerned with how middle-class Black voters operate as a function of their income levels and racial group identity. The conventional wisdom is that African Americans who perceive their individual fates to be tied to those of their racial group are more likely to rely on group-based interests rather than economic self-interests when they make political decisions. This is a result of  their higher levels of linked-fate & understanding that race will most likely impact their life outcomes (1994). Albeit, the 2016 election requires pause. Although, African Americans remain overwhelming democrat,the participation gap among class differences begins to narrow. Does the incorporation of new black voters in the electorate reflect a growing subjective class divide in policy preferences?   Using the 2016 National Election Study, we explore the extent to which racial linked-fate operates in the context of rural working-class black America.  We expect that socioeconomic and neighborhood locality inequalities are drivers of policy preferences among least incorporated rural Black American voters, distinguishing context as a driving wedge in black public opinion.


Powerpoint Presentation at APSA Annual Meeting, 2017. 


Full text available upon request. 

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