Together with Eric Hansen of Loyola University Chicago, Professor Carnes conducted research analyzing the socioeconomic backgrounds of state legislators and whether or not they represented the populations they served. They found that elected officials from the working-class were more likely to support progressive tax or welfare policies.
In Texas, they discovered that there were no legislators from the working-class despite the fact that nearly 60% of the state’s population holds jobs that would fall under that category, such as construction or service.
“People from working-class jobs almost never become politicians…And so you do see decision-making tilt towards the kinds of policies that more affluent people and white-collar professionals want, and away from the sort of bread-and-butter domestic economic reforms that tend to be more popular with lower-income and working-class people.”
-- Professor Nicholas Carnes
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Professor Nicholas Carnes is a political scientist who is currently the Creed C. Black Associate Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy.