Larry Bartels

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Larry M. Bartels is a professor of politics and public affairs and the Donald E. Stokes Professor of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He directs the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics in Princeton Woodrow Wilson School.[1]


Bartels has published numerous articles on electoral politics, public opinion, the mass media, and political methodology in The American Political Science Review, The American Journal of Political Science, and other leading scholarly journals, and in a variety of edited volumes. His current research projects focus on the American electoral process, the political economy of inequality, and democratic theory.

Bartels's newest book, Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Gilded Age, will be published in 2008 by Princeton University Press and the Russell Sage Foundation. His first book, Presidential Primaries and the Dynamics of Public Choice (Princeton University Press, 1988), received the American Political Science Association's Woodrow Wilson Foundation Award for the year's best book on government, politics, or international affairs. He has also received the APSA's Franklin L. Burdette and E. E. Schattschneider Awards and the Best Paper Award from the Elections, Public Opinion, and Voting Behavior Section (three times), as well as major grants and fellowships from the Carnegie Corporation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the National Science Foundation, the Pew Charitable Trusts, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the Social Science Research Council. He was elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1995.[2]


  • Ph.D. in Political Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1983.
  • M.A. in Political Science, Yale University, 1978.
  • B.A. awarded Magna cum Laude and with Distinction in Political Science, Yale College, 1978.

Left-wing papers, essays, reviews

Bartels was involved in the production of numerous articles, reviews and essays; the following papers represent but a sample:

“Inequality and American Governance” (with Hugh Heclo, Rodney E. Hero, and Lawrence R. Jacobs). In Lawrence R. Jacobs and Theda Skocpol, eds., Inequality and American Democracy: What We Know and What We Need to Learn. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2005, 88-155.

Baretels received a grant from the Russell Sage Foundation (for “Unequal Democracy: The Politics of Economic Inequality”), 2005-06.

“Why the Economy Fares Much Better Under Democrats.” Christian Science Monitor, October 21, 2008, page 9.

“Inequalities: Since World War II, Republicans and Democrats Have Presided Over Startlingly Different Economies.” New York Times Magazine, April 27, 2008, page 22.

“Is the Water Rising? Reflections on Inequality and American Democracy.” PS: Political Science & Politics 39:1 (January 2006), 39-42.

“What’s Wrong with Short-Term Thinking?” Boston Review, Summer 2004, page 23. Reprinted in Rick Perlstein, The Stock Ticker and the Superjumbo: How the Democrats Can Once Again Become America’s Dominant Political Party. Chicago: Prickly Paradigm Press.[3]

Keynote address

Bartels made a Keynote address at the 40th Anniversary Conference on “Dynamics of Inequality in America from 1968 to Today,” Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University, 2009.[4]


Bartels served as chair of the national task force that produced the volume Campaign Reform: Insights and Evidence (co-edited with Lynn Vavreck, University of Michigan Press, 2000). In 2001 he served as the pivotal non-partisan member of the New Jersey Legislative Apportionment Commission and was a defendant in a major federal voting rights case, Page v. Bartels. He has also served as chair of the Board of Overseers of the American National Election Studies, president of the Methodology Section of the American Political Science Association, and chair of the Princeton University Committee on Public Lectures, and on a variety of other departmental, university, and professional boards and committees. Bartels was also on the Task Force on Inequality and American Democracy, 2003-04.[5]

Bartels' book recommended by Obama

Pres. Bill Clinton spoke about Bartels' book, "Unequal Democracy: The Political Economy of the New Guilded Age", on the Greta Van Susteren Show. In the preamble, it is noted that Larry Bartels shows "the gap between the rich and poor has increased greatly under Republican administrations and decreased slightly under Democrats, leaving America grossly unequal. This is not simply the result of economic forces, but the product of broad-reaching policy choices in a political system dominated by partisan ideologies and the interests of the wealthy." Bartels demonstrates that elected officials "respond to the views of affluent constituents but ignore the views of poor people". He shows that "Republican presidents in particular have consistently produced much less income growth for middle-class and working-poor families than for affluent families, greatly increasing inequality". He provides "revealing case studies of key policy shifts contributing to inequality, including the massive Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003 and the erosion of the minimum wage".

Along with Obama, Bill Clinton also read and recommends Unequal Democracy. "[M]ost people on the street could have told Bartels that the working poor fare better under Democrats"... but the importance of these and some other findings in the book . . . is that they use scholarly methods to provide political explanations for economic problems."--Michael Tomasky, New York Review of Books.[6]


Larry Bartels, Professor, Princeton University, was an identified member of JournoList - an email group of approximately 400 "progressive" and socialist journalists, academics and "new media" activists.[7] JournoList members reportedly coordinated their messages in favor of Barack Obama and the Democrats, and against Sarah Palin and the Republican Party. JournoList was founded in 2007 and was closed down in early 2010.[8]