[UCP Books]: White-Collar Government: The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making

“That Congress contains more than its fair share of millionaires is fairly well known. But I’ve never seen it put quite this vividly. . . . Nicholas Carnes’s research—and common sense—shows that the simple fact of being a white-collar millionaire leads to different priorities. It leads to different social circles. It leads to different bills.”
Ezra Klein, Washington Post
“‘Where you stand depends on where you sit’ is a maxim seldom applied to the economic backgrounds of legislators. But Nicholas Carnes’s eye-opening study shows social class and work experience to be key determinants in shaping how Congress and state legislatures write laws and shape policies.”
Timothy Noah, author of The Great Divergence: America’s Growing Inequality Crisis and What We Can Do About It

 The Hidden Role of Class in Economic Policy Making

Nicholas Carnes


Publication date: December 1, 2013 Paper $16.00 • £11.00
UK publication date: December 9, 2013 ISBN-13: 978-0-226-08714-6

“Elections are supposed to give us choices. We can reward incumbents or throw out the bums. We can choose Republicans or Democrats, conservative policies or progressive ones. In most elections, however, we don’t get a say in something important: whether we’re governed by the rich.”

So writes Nicholas Carnes in a recent opinion piece for the New York Times. Does it matter that most politicians in the United States are considerably better off than the people who elect them? Political commentators have long debated this question, but White-Collar Government provides the first hard look at the evidence.

Drawing on comprehensive data on the class backgrounds of legislators, Carnes shows how the shortage of people from the working class in positions of political power skews the policymaking process toward outcomes that favor upper-class economic interests. Challenging long-held notions about the causes of political inequality in the United States, White-Collar Government highlights a serious sense in which our policymaking process is broken and suggests a new way forward for citizens who care about fixing it.

Nicholas Carnes is assistant professor of public policy in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. He lives in Durham, NC, and he has worked as a busboy, dishwasher, and construction worker.
Please contact Melinda Kennedy at mkennedy1@press.uchicago.edu or (773) 702-2945 for more information.


Looking for a book published by a scholarly press?
Search our repository of 42,000 academic and university press titles to see if we can point you to the book you need. Read More