Christopher Witko and William Franko
The New Economic Populism
How States Respond to Economic Inequality
Oxford University Press 2017
New Books in American StudiesNew Books in EconomicsNew Books in Peoples & PlacesNew Books in Political ScienceNew Books in PoliticsNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network February 26, 2018 Heath Brown
In the last few weeks, minimum wage workers in 18 states saw their wages go up; in Maine a full dollar increase. Why states have taken the lead on raising the minimum wage is the topic of the new book from Christopher Witko and William Franko, The New Economic Populism: How States Respond to Economic Inequality (Oxford University Press, 2017). Witko is associate professor of political science at the University of South Carolina; Franko is assistant professor of political science at West Virginia University.
In the book, they argue, despite rising inequality, the federal government has been unable to muster the will to address the problem. Instead, we are seeing many states actively addressing economic inequality, often through direct democracy. Franko and Witko show that the states that address inequality are not necessarily those with the greatest levels of inequality, but instead are those states where citizens are aware and concerned with growing inequality. They examine how various factors have shaped state policies that boost incomes at the bottom (the minimum wage and the Earned Income Tax Credit) and reduce incomes at the top (with top marginal tax rates) between 1987 and 2010.