The political impact of inequality: social cleavages and voting in the 1999 elections

Michael Shalev, Yoav Peled, Oren Yiftachel

Research output: Working paper / PreprintDiscussion paper


Previous studies of electoral behavior in Israel have demonstrated the importance of ethnic and religious cleavages while finding little evidence for class divisions as a factor structuring politics and predicting voter preferences. We challenge this empirical consensus by employing three different methodologies: a reanalysis of standard survey data; ecological analysis of aggregate election and census results; and multilevel analysis of pooled individual and aggregate data. All three methods attribute a major role to class along with other social cleavages. They vary however in their anawers to the question of whether class effects are independent of ethnicity and religion or conditional upon them. Several factors explain the divergence between our findings and prior research. The impact of class on voting is stronger in ecological than survey correlations because (a)the higher quality of aggregate data allows more sophisticated conceptualization and measurement of class; (b)class (and other social variables) are in fact grounded in communities as well as individuals; and (c)unlike surveys, comparisons across communities capture local biases as well as the effects of individual differences. The paper illustrates the power of multilevel analysis to operationalize the analytical distinction between effects at the two levels of analysis, individual voters and their local mileux.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationTel-Aviv
PublisherPinhas Sapir Center for Development, Tel-Aviv University
Number of pages57
StatePublished - 2000

Publication series

NameDiscussion paper (The Pinhas Sapir center for development)
PublisherThe Pinhas Sapir center for development

ULI Keywords

  • uli
  • Israel -- Keneset -- Elections, 1999
  • Elections -- Israel
  • Equality -- Political aspects -- Israel
  • Social classes -- Israel
  • Voting -- Israel
  • ישראל -- הכנסת -- בחירות, 1999
  • ישראל -- כנסת -- בחירות, 1999
  • ישראל -- <<ה>>כנסת -- בחירות, 1999


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