State legislative political polarization and income inequality in the United States

Project Summary:

Political polarization and income inequality have both been on the rise since the 1980s. This project will explore whether increases in state-level income inequality within the United States have led to increases in nation-wide polarization. The researchers will explore to what extent changes in state-level inequality affect the ideological positions of parties within state chambers, as well as the median ideological positions of overall chambers.


John Voorheis will complete his Ph.D. in economics at the University of Oregon in June, 2016. Subsequently, he will join the U.S. Census Bureau’s Center for Administrative Records Research and Applications as an economist. His research has focuses on the causes and consequences of increasing economic inequality. He is primarily interested in measuring inequality at fine geographic scales, and in investigating how changes in economic inequality affect other outcomes of interest, such as environmental quality, political polarization, and economic growth.