Does increased socioeconomic segregation lead to increased political inequality?

Since the 1970s, economic inequality has been on the rise in many developed democracies. While the increase in economic inequality is well-documented, it is still a contested issue if we are witnessing a similar change with respect to overall political equality. The previous literature on the topic contains many suggestions of potential mechanisms through which the degree of economic equality in a country can affect the degree of political equality. This project will focus on one such mechanism, namely the purported relationship between socioeconomic segregation and the inequality of political participation.

Whereas there is some evidence that both economic segregation and socioeconomic inequalities in political participation have increased in many countries during the last decades there is very little research on the relationship between these two trends. Consequently, we still have rather limited knowledge of how segregation along economic lines relates to socioeconomic differences in political participation. The purpose of this project is to remedy this state of affairs by using detailed geocoded longitudinal data from Swedish population registers to study the link between socioeconomic segregation and participatory inequality, and its development over time. In particular, we will be able to analyze individual-level turnout going back to 1970, and individual political candidacy for all elections from 1982 and onwards.

Principal Investigator Karl-Oskar Lindgren:

- One chief priority in Sweden’s strategy against segregation is to increase political participation in socioeconomically disadvantaged areas. However, the design and implementation of effective measure that can help achieve this goal presupposes that we have a good understanding of the factors driving political marginalization. Our hope is that this project will contribute with such knowledge by examining whether socioeconomic segregation fosters political inequality. 

Principal Investigator: Karl-Oskar Lindgren (Department of Government) 

Period: 2023–2025

Funding: SEK 4 974 001 from the Swedish Research Council

Last modified: 2023-01-23