UNAFFORDABLE OUTCOMES: THE WEALTH GAP, BLACK POLITICAL PARTICIPATION AND PUBLIC POLICY OUTCOMES IN THE BLACK INTERESTS
Whitt, Christopher Matthew
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This study investigates whether, and if so, how the racial wealth gap in the United States influences political participation and public policy proposals and outcomes in the interests of Blacks. There are many factors attributed to failures and successes in the representation of Black interests in the public policy arena. This project focuses on one prominent factor: the influence of economic disparities on political participation and thus, public policy decisions made by the members of Congress representing these populations. Using Census data and other data on campaign contributions and voting, two forms of political participation will be featured and placed into: voting and campaign contributions. This dissertation will bridge some of the gaps among various areas of social science pertaining to the study of wealth, participation and public policy formulation. Building these bridges is a substantial goal in this dissertation. Many of the approaches used will also serve to reach across divides within political science. Techniques common in American Politics, Comparative Politics and even Political Theory will be used. Correlations, various hypotheses tests, case studies, interviews and extensive literature reviews will be keys to success in this project. The first part of the research will focus on the existence of the racial wealth gap. The second part will show how the wealth gap influences political participation in the form of voting and contributing to campaigns. The third part will draw connections between political participation and public policy outcomes. Overall, this project should paint a clearer picture of how the possession of or lack of wealth can help or hinder the political power of a selected group.