Larry Bartels



Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age. Using a vast swath of data spanning the past six decades, Unequal Democracy debunks many myths about politics in contemporary America, using the widening gap between the rich and the poor to shed disturbing light on the workings of American democracy. Larry Bartels shows the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. This is not simply the result of economic forces, but the product of broad-reaching policy choices in a political system dominated by partisan ideologies and the interests of the wealthy.

Bartels demonstrates that elected officials respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people. He shows that Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality. He provides revealing case studies of key policy shifts contributing to inequality, including the massive Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the erosion of the minimum wage. Finally, he challenges conventional explanations for why many voters seem to vote against their own economic interests, contending that working-class voters have not been lured into the Republican camp by “values issues” like abortion and gay marriage, as commonly believed, but that Republican presidents have been remarkably successful in timing income growth to cater to short-sighted voters.

Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence (ed., with Lynn Vavreck). What is wrong with American political campaigns? How could the campaign process be improved? This volume brings the expertise of leading political scientists to the public debate about campaign reform. These scholars probe the reality behind the conventional wisdom that nasty, vacuous campaigns dominated by big money and cynical media coverage are perverting our political process and alienating our citizenry. Some of their conclusions will be startling to campaigners and critics alike. For example, “attack” advertisements prove to be no more effective than self-promotional advertisements, but are more substantive. Indeed, candidates in their advertisements and speeches focus more on policy and less on strategy and process than any major news outlet, including the New York Times. The volume suggests that, as a result, prospective voters in 1996 knew more about the candidates’ issue positions than in any presidential election in decades, yet turnout and public faith in the electoral process continued to decline. For aspiring reformers, Bartels and his colleagues provide a bracing reality check. For students and scholars of electoral politics, political communication, and voting behavior, they provide an authoritative summary and interpretation of what we know about the nature and impact of political campaigns. The insights and evidence contained in this volume should be of interest to anyone concerned about the present state and future prospects of American electoral process. Other contributors are Bruce Buchanan, Tami Buhr, Ann Crigler, John G. Geer, Kathleen Hall Jamieson, Marion Just, Daron R. Shaw, and John Zaller.

Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice. This innovative study blends sophisticated statistical analyses, campaign anecdotes, and penetrating political insight to produce a fascinating exploration of one of America’s most controversial political institutions–the process by which our major parties nominate candidates for the presidency. Larry Bartels focuses on the nature and impact of “momentum” in the contemporary nominating system. He describes the complex interconnections among primary election results, expectations, and subsequent primary results that have made it possible for candidates like Jimmy Carter, George Bush, and Gary Hart to emerge from relative obscurity into political prominence in recent nominating campaigns. In the course of his analysis, he addresses questions central to any understanding–or evaluation–of the modern nominating process. How do fundamental political predispositions influence the behavior of primary voters? How quickly does the public learn about new candidates? Under what circumstances will primary success itself generate subsequent primary success? And what are the psychological processes underlying this dynamic tendency?

Professor Bartels examines the likely consequences of some proposed alternatives to the current nominating process, including a regional primary system and a one-day national primary. Thus the work will be of interest to political activists, would-be reformers, and interested observers of the American political scene, as well as to students of public opinion, voting behavior, the news media, campaigns, and electoral institutions.


“A Tale of Two Tax Cuts, a Wage Squeeze, and a Tax Credit.” National Tax Journal 59:3
(September 2006), 403-423.

“What’s the Matter with What’s the Matter with Kansas?” Quarterly Journal of Political
Science 1:2 (2006), 201-226.

“Homer Gets a Tax Cut: Inequality and Public Policy in the American Mind.”
Perspectives on Politics 3:1 (March 2005), 15-31.

“Beyond the Running Tally: Partisan Bias in Political Perceptions.” Political Behavior
24:2 (June 2002), 117-150.

“Question Order and Declining Faith in Elections.” Public Opinion Quarterly, 66:1
(Spring 2002), 67-79.

“Partisanship and Voting Behavior, 1952-1996.” American Journal of Political Science
44:1 (January 2000), 35-50.

“Panel Effects in the American National Election Studies.” Political Analysis 8:1 (Winter
2000), 1-20.

“Electoral Continuity and Change, 1868-1996.” Electoral Studies 17:3 (September 1998),
301-326. Reprinted in Richard M. Valelly, ed., Princeton Readings in American Politics
(Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009), 421-446.

“Specification Uncertainty and Model Averaging.” American Journal of Political Science
41:2 (April 1997), 641-674.

“Pooling Disparate Observations.” American Journal of Political Science 40:3 (August
1996), 905-942.

“Uninformed Votes: Information Effects in Presidential Elections.” American Journal of
Political Science 40:1 (February 1996), 194-230.

“The American Public’s Defense Spending Preferences in the Post-Cold War Era.” Public
Opinion Quarterly 58:4 (Winter 1994), 479-508.

“Messages Received: The Political Impact of Media Exposure.” American Political
Science Review 87:2 (June 1993), 267-285. Reprinted in Philip Seib, ed., Political
Communication (London: Sage Publications, 2007).

“Instrumental and ‘Quasi-Instrumental’ Variables.” American Journal of Political
Science 35:3 (August 1991), 777-800.

“Constituency Opinion and Congressional Policy Making: The Reagan Defense Buildup.”
American Political Science Review 85:2 (June 1991), 457-474.

“Candidate Choice and the Dynamics of the Presidential Nominating Process.”
American Journal of Political Science 31:1 (February 1987), 1-30.

“Issue Voting Under Uncertainty: An Empirical Test.” American Journal of Political
Science 30:4 (November 1986), 709-728.

“Alternative Misspecifications in Simultaneous-Equation Models.” Political Methodology
11:3-4 (1985), 181-199.

“Power and Influence as a Covariance Structure.” Political Methodology 11:1-2 (1985),

“New Measures of Issue Salience: An Evaluation” (with Richard G. Niemi). Journal of
Politics 47:4 (November 1985), 1212-1220.

“Expectations and Preferences in Presidential Nominating Campaigns.” American
Political Science Review 79:3 (September 1985), 804-815.

“Resource Allocation in a Presidential Campaign.” Journal of Politics 47:3 (August
1985), 928-936.

Book Chapters

“Economic Inequality and Political Representation.” In Lawrence Jacobs and Desmond
King, eds., The Unsustainable American State. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009,
167-196. (Reprinted from Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded
Age, chapter 9.)

“The Partisan Political Economy.” In Richard M. Valelly, ed., Princeton Readings in
American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009, 577-606. (Reprinted
from Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, chapter 2.)

“Electoral Continuity and Change, 1868-1996.” In Richard M. Valelly, ed., Princeton
Readings in American Politics. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2009, 421-446.
(Reprinted from Electoral Studies 17:3, 301-326.)

“Priming and Persuasion in Presidential Campaigns.” In Henry E. Brady and Richard
Johnston, eds., Capturing Campaign Effects. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press,
2006, 78-112.

“Three Virtues of Panel Data for the Analysis of Campaign Effects.” In Henry E. Brady
and Richard Johnston, eds., Capturing Campaign Effects. Ann Arbor: University of
Michigan Press, 2006, 134-163.

“Inequality and American Governance” (with Hugh Heclo, Rodney E. Hero, and
Lawrence R. Jacobs). In Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol, eds., Inequality and
American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn. New York: Russell
Sage Foundation, 2005, 88-155.

“Democracy with Attitudes.” In Michael B. MacKuen and George Rabinowitz, eds.,
Electoral Democracy. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 2003, 48-82.

“The Impact of Candidate Traits in American Presidential Elections.” In Anthony King,
ed., Leaders’ Personalities and the Outcomes of Democratic Elections. Oxford: Oxford
University Press, 2002), 44-69.

“An Agenda for Voting Research.” In Elihu Katz and Yael Warshel, eds., Election Studies:
What’s Their Use? Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 2001, 59-81.

“Campaign Quality: Standards for Evaluation, Benchmarks for Reform.” In Larry M.
Bartels and Lynn Vavreck, eds., Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence. Ann Arbor:
University of Michigan Press, 2000, 1-61.

“Where the Ducks Are: Voting Power in a Party System.” In John Geer, ed., Politicians
and Party Politics. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998, 43-79.

“The State of Quantitative Political Methodology” (with Henry E. Brady). In Ada W.
Finifter, ed., Political Science: The State of the Discipline II. Washington: American
Political Science Association, 1993, 121-159.

“The Impact of Electioneering in the United States.” In David Butler and Austin Ranney,
eds., Electioneering: A Comparative Study of Continuity and Change. Oxford: Clarendon
Press, 1992, 244-277.

“After Iowa: Momentum in Presidential Primaries.” In Peverill Squire, ed., The Iowa
Caucuses and the Presidential Nominating Process. Boulder, CO: Westview Press, 1989,

Essays, Reviews, and Occasional Pieces

“A New Deal Fantasy Meets Old Political Realities.” In Theda Skocpol, Obama’s New
Deal, Tea Party Reaction, and America’s Political Future. Cambridge, MA: Harvard
University Press, forthcoming.

“Stanley Kelley, Jr.” (with John G. Geer and Fred I. Greenstein). PS: Political Science &
Politics 43:2 (April 2010), 376-379.

“The Study of Electoral Behavior.” In Jan E. Leighley, ed., The Oxford Handbook of
American Elections and Political Behavior. New York: Oxford University Press, 2010,

“Henry Brady, Big Scientist” (with Richard Johnston, Cynthia S. Kaplan, and Marcia K.
Meyers). PS: Political Science & Politics 42:4 (October 2009), 793-798.

“Voice, and Then What?” In Gary King, Kay L. Schlozman, and Norman H. Nie, eds., The
Future of Political Science: 100 Perspectives. New York: Routledge, 2009, 104-105.

“How Smart is the American Voter?” Los Angeles Times, November 3, 2008, page A19.

“Why the Economy Fares Much Better Under Democrats.” Christian Science Monitor,
October 21, 2008, page 9.

“The Irrational Electorate.” Wilson Quarterly 32:4 (Autumn 2008), 44-50.

“Inequalities: Since World War II, Republicans and Democrats Have Presided Over
Startlingly Different Economies.” New York Times Magazine, April 27, 2008, page 22.

“Who’s Bitter Now?” New York Times, April 17, 2008, page A29.

“Homer Gets a Warm Hug: A Note on Ignorance and Extenuation.” Perspectives on
Politics 5:4 (December 2007), 773-778.

“Is the Water Rising? Reflections on Inequality and American Democracy.” PS: Political
Science & Politics 39:1 (January 2006), 39-42.

“The Least-Tough Choice for Most is to Tap the Rich.” Newark Star-Ledger, December
29, 2005, page 11.

“A Methodological Education: Part II.” The Political Methodologist 12:2 (Fall 2004), 4-6.

“A Dime’s Worth of Difference? What’s at Stake in November.” Signature: National
Constitution Center Newsletter, Fall 2004, 4-8.

“What’s Wrong with Short-Term Thinking?” Boston Review, Summer 2004, page 23.
Reprinted in Rick Perlstein, The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo: How the Democrats
Can Once Again Become America’s Dominant Political Party. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm

“Economic Amnesia Buoys Incumbents.” Los Angeles Times, June 20, 2004, M1-M2.

“Unenlightened Self-Interest: The Strange Appeal of Estate Tax Repeal.” The American
Prospect, June 2004, A17-A19.

“Lots of Opinion, Not Much Action: The Study of Mass Politics from Key to Kinder.” In
Edward D. Mansfield and Richard Sisson, eds., The Evolution of Political Knowledge:
Theory and Inquiry in American Politics. Columbus, OH: Ohio State University Press,
2004, 153-157.

“GOP Always Falls Down on the Jobs.” Los Angeles Times, September 26, 2003, page

“Is ‘Popular Rule’ Possible? Polls, Political Psychology, and Democracy.” Brookings
Review 21:3 (Summer 2003), 12-15. Reprinted in Allan J. Cigler and Burdett A. Loomis,
eds., American Politics: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 7th ed. (Belmont, CA:
Wadsworth Publishing, 2007).

“Economic Behavior in Political Context” (with Henry E. Brady). American Economic
Review 93:2 (Papers and Proceedings, May 2003), 156-161.

“Public Opinion: Political Aspects.” In Neil J. Smelser and Paul B. Baltes, eds.,
International Encyclopedia of the Social & Behavioral Sciences. Oxford: Pergamon, 2001,

“Redrawing the Lines.” Philadelphia Inquirer, May 22, 2001, page A17.

“Presidential Vote Models: A Recount” (with John Zaller). PS: Political Science & Politics
34:1 (March 2001), 9-20.

Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence. Report of the Task Force on Campaign Reform Funded by The Pew Charitable Trusts. Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs, Princeton University (September 1998). Reprinted in Larry M.Bartels and Lynn Vavreck, eds., Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 2000, 201-247.

“Posterior Distributions from Model Averaging: A Clarification.” The Political
Methodologist 9:2 (Spring 1998), 17-19.

“The American National Election Studies: A Progress Report” (with Virginia Sapiro). PS:
Political Science & Politics 31:1 (March 1998), 64-68.

“Econometrics and Elections.” Journal of Economic Perspectives 11:3 (Summer 1997),

“Donald Stokes and the Study of Electoral Politics.” PS: Political Science & Politics 30:2
(June 1997), 230-232. Reprinted in slightly modified form as “Donald E. Stokes” in John
G. Geer, ed., Public Opinion and Polling Around the World, Volume 1. Santa Barbara, CA:
ABC Clio, 2004, 457-461.

Review of Going Negative: How Political Advertisements Shrink and Polarize the
Electorate, by Stephen Ansolabehere and Shanto Iyengar. Public Opinion Quarterly 60:3
(Fall 1996), 456-461.

“The 1996 National Election Study.” Votes & Opinions 2:2 (July/August 1996), 26-27, 39.

Review of Designing Social Inquiry: Scientific Inference in Qualitative Research, by Gary
King, Robert O. Keohane, and Sidney Verba. The Political Methodologist 6:2 (Spring
1995), 8-11. Reprinted in slightly modified form as “Some Unfulfilled Promises of
Quantitative Imperialism” in Henry E. Brady and David Collier, eds., Rethinking Social
Inquiry: Diverse Tools, Shared Standards. Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2004,
69-74. Second edition, 2010, 83-88.

Review of Public Opinion in America: Moods, Cycles, and Swings, by James A. Stimson.
Political Science Quarterly 107:2 (Summer 1992), 364-365.

“Five Approaches to Model Specification.” The Political Methodologist 3:2 (Fall 1990), 2-

Review of Watching Politicians: Essays on Participant Observation, by Richard F. Fenno,
Jr. The Political Methodologist 3:2 (Fall 1990), 16-17.

Review of Bifurcated Politics: Evolution and Reform in the National Party Convention, by
Byron E. Shafer. American Political Science Review 83:4 (December 1989), 1400-1402.
“Poll Review: The 1988 Presidential Primaries” (with C. Anthony Broh). Public Opinion
Quarterly 53:4 (Winter 1989), 563-589.

“Don’t Ignore History.” Brookings Review 7:2 (Spring 1989), 32-33.

“The Responsiveness of Approval Voting to Political Circumstances” (with Richard G.
Niemi). PS: Political Science & Politics 17:3 (Summer 1984), 571-577.

Back Home   

Contact Information

Larry Bartels
Office: 337 Commons Center
Department of Political Science
PMB 0505
Nashville, Tennessee 37203
(615) 322-6227