I address the functioning of the U.S. governing system by analyzing distributional outcomes from 1947 to 2000. The key question is whether public policy influences distributional outcomes. The macropolitics model and power resource theory suggest that left policies should equalize the distribution of income. I utilize single equation error correction models to assess the impact of policy on income inequality through two mechanisms—market conditioning and redistribution. Since nearly every government action influences markets in some way, I examine policy in the aggregate rather than focusing only on policies explicitly designed to redistribute income. The analysis indicates that policy influences inequality through both mechanisms, with left policy producing more equality. The results are consistent with power resource theory and strongly support the macropolitics model. Furthermore, I find that market conditioning is as important as, and works in tandem with, explicit redistribution.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/nathan_kelly/7/