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Polarized America: The Dance of Ideology and Unequal Riches (Walras-Pareto Lectures) Paperback – January 25, 2008

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Editorial Reviews


A breath of fresh air.... A book that will guide and inform the study of polarization for years to come.

(Jeffrey A. Jenkins Chicago Tribune)

Important.... Essential reading for anyone who wants to understand what's happening to America.

(Paul Krugman New York Times)

The topic of polarizationits causes and consequenceshas risen to the front of the study of American politics. Nolan McCarty and his coauthors have written the gold standard against which others will be judged. Their analysis of the consequences of polarization has caused me to rethink my belief that there are no real policy consequences to the elite polarization of American politics.

(David W. Brady, Bowen H. and Janice Arthur McCoy Professor of Political Science and Leadership Values, Stanford University)

About the Author

Nolan McCarty is Professor of Politics and Public Affairs and Academic Dean of the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University.

Keith T. Poole is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, San Diego.

Howard Rosenthal is Professor of Politics at New York University and Visiting Scholar at the Russell Sage Foundation.


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Product Details

  • Series: Walras-Pareto Lectures
  • Paperback: 264 pages
  • Publisher: The MIT Press (January 25, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0262633612
  • ISBN-13: 978-0262633611
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.5 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #304,728 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 34 people found the following review helpful By Douglas B. Wilson on September 2, 2006
Format: Hardcover
Polarized America is a difficult, but valuable read. Nolan McCarty, Keith Poole, and Howard Rosenthal, three political scientists wrote the book for other political scientists. Nevertheless, reading and then rereading the book is time well spent. Their arguments about our current political polarization are thoughtful and detailed. I will not summarize the book beyond a list of the chapters and a follow-up sentence.

1. The Choreography of American Politics

2. Polarized Politicians

3. Income Polarization and the Electorate

4. Immigration, Income, and the Voter's Incentive to Redistribute

5. Campaign Finance and Polarization

6. Polarization and Public Policy

7. Where Have you Gone, Mr. Sam [Rayburn]

Excellent graphics and tables, which the reader should avoid the temptation to skip, illustrate the chapters.

A one-sentence summary of their thesis is that America is politically stuck and is likely to remain so until tectonic social events move the parties from the political edges back to the middle, the position from which American political institutions work best.
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