Graduation Year


Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE)

Second Department


Reader 1

William Lincoln

Terms of Use & License Information

Terms of Use for work posted in Scholarship@Claremont.

Rights Information

© 2016 Michael J Irvine


Who gets represented in America? How does representation change over time? This thesis attempts to answer both questions, which are necessarily linked to one another. I investigate long-term trends in representation and temporary fluctuations in group influence by using a probit model to examine the link between socioeconomic groups’ policy preferences and outcomes in year-groups roughly corresponding to presidential terms. I find evidence for the suggestion in the literature that American policymaking contains a strong bias in favor of the status quo, but I depart from the literature in finding little evidence for a suggested link between income and political influence. I find evidence of declining policy activity in the 1990s and 2000s relative to the 1980s but little evidence of a long-term trend towards less policy output. In general, I find little evidence of long-term trends in representation, including the idea that our policy outcomes are becoming more correlated with the views of minority groups such as African-Americans and Hispanics.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.