18 August 2016 | PEIW | Projects

Unequal Rule
Economic inequality and political influence in advanced democracies

Unequal Rule's principal investigators are professors Brian Burgoon (Political Economy) and Wouter van der Brug (Comparative Political Science) of the University of Amsterdam. The research project aims at shedding more light on how and to what extent income levels determine political influence in Europe.

Influential studies in the United States have shown that low and high income groups vastly differ in political influence. This study explores whether such patterns hold for wealth- as well as incomeinequality, and for democratic settings that more tightly limit money in politics.

Inequalities should more modestly affect political inequalities in European democracies that constrain lobbying and contributions, but wealth inequality may more strongly foster political inequalities also in Europe, by favouring the rich in informal political networks. Quantitative analysis in sixteen countries promises major insights into how fuller measure of economic inequality affects political equality across widely ranging democracies.


  • Brian Burgoon, professor of Political Economy, University of Amsterdam
  • Wouter van der Brug, professor of Comparative Political Science, University of Amsterdam


3 years


NWO VENI grant