You are here

Democracy and the Policy Preferences of Wealthy Americans

March 2013

Benjamin I. Page, Larry M. Bartels, Jason Seawright


The article attempts to examine the policy and political preferences of wealthy Americans, specifically those in the top 1 percent of wealth. This is achieved by contacting 89 wealthy Americans in the Chicagoland area, which the study claims is roughly representative of wealthy Americans nationwide. The article finds that the wealthiest Americans differ in political/policy preferences quite significantly from the median voter. They find that Americans in the top 1% of wealth tend to place more emphasis on government debt, and decreasing economic regulation then the average voter and tend to sway more conservative financially. Additionally the top 1% tend to be socially liberal, but do not list social issues as pressing. The study also finds this effect is stronger the wealthier the individual is.

Read Now

Policy Implications

This article can be used in attempting to identify preferences of various voter demographics. The article finds that political participation is positively correlated with wealth, even within high levels such as the top 1%, so understanding the preferences of especially wealthy Americans can be useful in appealing to constituents or attempting to adjust possible biases within policy. The article further breaks down a large sample of preferences of the top 1% and how they differ from the average voter.

Find Similar General/Not Specific Research