The effects of political and socio-economic variables on the redistributive aspects of public policy in the American states

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Purpose: Previous research has indicated that the socio-economic system has greater impact on public policy than does the political system. The purposes of this investigation were to determine the following concerning the redistributive aspects of public policy: (1) the effect of the political and socio-economic systems on redistribution; (2) the effect of individual variables on redistribution; (2) the effect of individual variables on redistribution; and (3) the effect of the Southern states on the findings. Methods: This study is an extension of the research begun by Brian Fry and Richard Winters in their article The Politics of Redistribution which appeared in the American Political Science Review in June 1970. The procedures employed in this analysis were: (1) to formulate a redistribution ratio which would represent the ratio of expenditure benefits to revenue burdens for the three lowest income classes in each state; (2) to gather data for the variables that represent the political and socio-economic systems; (3) to submit the political and socio-economic variables to factor analysis in order to determine basic dimensions within the two systems; and (4) to submit the independent and dependent variables to regression analysis (which included simple correlations among all of the independent variables, partial correlation to determine the effect of individual variables on redistribution, and multiple correlation to determine the effect of the political and socio-economic systems on redistribution). Findings: (1) Contrary to Fry and Winters findings, there is little difference in the effect of the political and socio-economic systems on the redistributive aspects of state public policies; both have major independent impact. (2) Within the political system, progressiveness in state government has the most impact on redistribution. (3) Within the socio-economic system, ability to pay, especially median income, has the most impact on redistribution. (4) The political and socio-economic variables have the same impact in all fifty states and the non-South.

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Social policy., Public Policy, redistributive aspects

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