Rising income inequality may erode support for democracy

New York, Nov 20 (IANS) Rising income inequality pits electoral winners and losers against each other, and conflict over economic interests may undermine citizens’ satisfaction with democracy, warns a study.

“Our findings suggest that rising income inequality pits political winners and losers against each other,” said Eric Chang, Associate Professor at the Michigan State University in the US.

“And this conflict over economic interests can undermine citizens’ satisfaction with democracy and lead to instability,” Chang noted.

For the study, the researchers analysed presidential and parliamentary elections in 43 countries, including the US.

The researchers found that rising income inequality widens the gap in satisfaction with democracy between electoral winners and losers.

“This study suggests that the degree of income inequality is the real driver behind electoral winners and losers’ satisfaction with democracy,” Chang said.

“Elections matter much more for both the rich and poor when income inequality is high,” Chang added.

The findings will be published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Electoral Studies.