Link to the University of Pittsburgh Homepage
Link to the University Library System Homepage Link to the Contact Us Form

Housing Price Inequality and Political Polarization

Kim, Eun Young (2022) Housing Price Inequality and Political Polarization. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

This is the latest version of this item.

Download (15MB) | Preview


This dissertation examines how district-level wealth inequality affects individual representatives. Polarization, where parties continue to grow apart and move away from the median voter, has been associated with inequality such that the wealthy voters are disproportionately represented in politics. However, we know little about if individual members also polarize (or diverge), moving from their own median voter and their rivals by representing only the affluent of their own district. I theorize that when a district is highly unequal, welfare-related issues become more salient in such a district, leading reelection-motivated representatives to focus on the preferences of their median voter strategically. Unlike commonly studied income inequality to measure constituency preferences, I use wealth inequality based on my fine-grained housing price data available at the district-level due to its increasing role in inequality and politics. I specifically investigate two main questions: (1) in the legislature, why do some politicians follow their party leaders while others do not?, and (2) during campaigns, why do some candidates behave similarly to their rivals while others diverge from them? I use the case of Korea, which experienced both rising wealth inequality and party polarization. I find that the incumbent representatives deviate from their leaders in the legislative voting when their district wealth inequality is high using roll-call votes. Analysis based on campaign brochures also reveals that in unequal districts candidates present similar campaign strategies, promising targeted benefits as much as their rivals. Detailed case studies on two congressional districts also generally support the theory. This dissertation contributes to our understanding of wealth inequality and representation in several ways. Drawing on the Korean case, I provide implications for other countries with a single-member district system on how individual representatives behave under high inequality. Also importantly, this dissertation serves as an example of how to use housing price data to measure district-level inequality. Lastly, it advances our understanding of candidate-level responsiveness and preferences using campaign brochures that I analyze using a text-as-data approach.


Social Networking:
Share |


Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Kim, Eun Youngeuk27@pitt.edueuk270000-0002-1751-592X
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairMorgenstern,
Committee MemberSpoon,
Committee MemberKanthak,
Committee MemberLinardi,
Date: 12 October 2022
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 20 July 2022
Approval Date: 12 October 2022
Submission Date: 4 August 2022
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 182
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Political Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: housing price inequality, inequality, legislative politics, election campaigns, polarization
Date Deposited: 12 Oct 2022 14:09
Last Modified: 12 Oct 2022 14:09

Available Versions of this Item

  • Housing Price Inequality and Political Polarization. (deposited 12 Oct 2022 14:09) [Currently Displayed]


Monthly Views for the past 3 years

Plum Analytics

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item