Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226644554 Published April 2009
E-book $10.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226644561 Published August 2009 Also Available From

Class War?

What Americans Really Think about Economic Inequality

Benjamin I. Page and Lawrence R. Jacobs

Class War?
See survey data files referenced in the book.

Benjamin I. Page and Lawrence R. Jacobs

160 pages | 20 line drawings, 2 tables | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2009
Paper $20.00 ISBN: 9780226644554 Published April 2009
E-book $10.00 to $20.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226644561 Published August 2009

Recent battles in Washington over how to fix America’s fiscal failures strengthened the widespread impression that economic issues sharply divide average citizens. Indeed, many commentators split Americans into two opposing groups: uncompromising supporters of unfettered free markets and advocates for government solutions to economic problems. But such dichotomies, Benjamin Page and Lawrence Jacobs contend, ring false. In Class War? they present compelling evidence that most Americans favor free enterprise and practical government programs to distribute wealth more equitably.

At every income level and in both major political parties, majorities embrace conservative egalitarianism—a philosophy that prizes individualism and self-reliance as well as public intervention to help Americans pursue these ideals on a level playing field. Drawing on hundreds of opinion studies spanning more than seventy years, including a new comprehensive survey, Page and Jacobs reveal that this worldview translates to broad support for policies aimed at narrowing the gap between rich and poor and creating genuine opportunity for all. They find, for example, that across economic, geographical, and ideological lines, most Americans support higher minimum wages, improved public education, wider access to universal health insurance coverage, and the use of tax dollars to fund these programs.

In this surprising and heartening assessment, Page and Jacobs provide our new administration with a popular mandate to combat the economic inequity that plagues our nation.


Chapter 1.  No Class War
Chapter 2.  Caring about Economic Inequality
Chapter 3.  Looking to Government for Help
Chapter 4.  Paying the Bill
Chapter 5.  Will Policy Makers Respond?
Appendix: The Inequality Survey

Review Quotes
Scott McLemee | Inside Higher Ed
"Helps to clarify why alarmist denunciations of higher taxation and (shudder!) ’redistribution of the wealth’ just won’t cut it. The publication of Class War? What Americans Really Think About Economic Inequality by Benjamin I. Page and Lawrence R. Jacobs could not be better timed."
Andrew Gelman | Political Science Quarterly
"Page and Jacobs offer an excellent synthesis of Americans’ majority views, demonstrating, at least in the short term, broad agreement on an active government role in reducing inequality, within the context of providing opportunity in a free-market economy."
For more information, or to order this book, please visit
Google preview here

Chicago Manual of Style

Chicago Blog: Economics

Events in Economics

Keep Informed