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Majoritarian Cities

Policy Making and Inequality in Urban Politics
Neil Kraus

Popular public policies often fail to address the needs of the disadvantaged in American cities


Neil Kraus evaluates both the influence of public opinion on local policy-making and the extent to which public policy addresses economic and social inequalities. Drawing on several years of fieldwork and multiple sources of data, including surveys and polls; initiatives, referenda, and election results; government documents; focus groups; interviews; and a wide assortment of secondary sources, Kraus presents case studies of two Midwestern cities, Minneapolis, Minnesota, and Gary, Indiana. Specifically, he focuses on several major policy decisions in recent decades concerning education, law enforcement, and affordable housing in Minneapolis; and education and riverboat casino development in Gary.

Kraus finds that, on these issues, local officials frequently take action that reflects public opinion, yet the resulting policies often fail to meet the needs of the disadvantaged or ameliorate the effects of concentrated poverty. In light of citizens’ current attitudes, he concludes that if patterns of inequality are to be more effectively addressed, scholars and policymakers must transform the debate about the causes and effects of inequality in urban and metropolitan settings.

“The author’s arguments that leaders need to initiate a public discussion aimed at pushing citizens toward a public-spirited approach to all these urban issues and that ‘it is time to bring the public back in’ are important to our urban and national future.”
—Dick Simpson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Neil Kraus is Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Wisconsin, River Falls

Praise / Awards

  • “Kraus presents a convincing argument that the advocates of education reform, affordable housing and other policies that bear on local social and economic opportunity have common cause in shaping public opinion not only on their favoured issues, but also on the broader questions of social and economic inequality within their cities.”
    Urban Studies
  • "This is a welcome addition to a growing number of political science studies probing the politics and policies affaecting income inequality. ... Highly recommended."

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Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 288pp.
  • 1 figure, 31 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2013
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-11902-8

Add Hardcover of 'Majoritarian Cities' to Cart
  • $65.00 U.S.

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  • Minneapolis, Minnesota, politics, Gary, Indiana, politics, Urban education policy, Affordable housing policy, Community power,Local law enforcement policy, Urban inequality, Metropolitan inequality, Concentrated poverty, Riverboat casinos


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