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Study: America is more like an oligarchy

Wednesday - 4/16/2014, 7:16am  ET

American flag (WTOP/Kristi King)
A new study finds that America's government more closely resembles an oligarchy. (WTOP/Kristi King)

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WASHINGTON -- Americans pride themselves on living in a democracy where each vote matters, but a new study finds that America's government more closely resembles an oligarchy -- reflecting the wishes of the rich and powerful.

The study, conducted by Princeton and Northwestern universities, examined about 1,800 U.S. policy changes from 1981 to 2002 and then compared the policy changes with the expressed preferences of different groups in the U.S., according to Gawker.

The study surveyed the median American at the 50th percentile of income, affluent Americans at the 90th percentile of income and lobbyists.

"The central point that emerges from our research is that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.S. government policy, while mass-based interest groups and average citizens have little or no independent influence," the researchers wrote in the study.

Also, the study noted regular people tend to think that their political interests are being represented when they see the triumph of a politician with whom they agree, Gawker says.

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Tags: gawkeroligarchy