Saturday, November 28, 2009

Seminar: Karen Jusko

Seminar Title: "The Electoral Foundations of Poverty Relief:  How Electoral Geography Affects Redistributive Politics"
Venue: Geary Seminar Room B003/004
Date: Tuesday December 1st. 
Time: 1pm
Speaker: Karen Jusko is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, at Stanford University  and an IRCHSS Visiting Fellow in the  ESF Human Values Institutions and Behaviour (HumVIB) research programme at the Geary Institute.
Abstract:  What are the implications of electoral geography – the joint geographic distribution of voters and legislative seats across districts – for social policy? In a series of formal analytic examples, I demonstrate the important role of electoral geography in determining social policy and find that under some conditions, single member plurality systems may yield redistributive policy that is at least as progressive as the policy that would be implemented under proportional representation rules – an outcome that directly challenges the existing literature. This discussion then evaluates empirically the implications of electoral geography for redistributive politics in a broadly comparative analysis of contemporary democratic societies. In countries where electoral geography favors the representation of low-income citizens, we observe greater overall reductions in income inequality through redistribution, and higher levels of social spending.

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