Political Representation and Gentrification
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The research conducted for this study tested how politicians respond their new and established constituents in three neighborhoods in Boston undergoing varying phases of gentrification. The expectation for this research was that wealthy constituents would have their needs addressed by politicians regardless of their status as a new or established resident in the neighborhood. Several in-depth interviews of new and established residents and their politicians were conducted in order to gather data to support the claims found in the existing literature. The methodology used in this research compared the concerns that new and established residents addressed in their in-depth interviews to the policies that were implemented in their community. The key finding of this study was that across the varying phases of gentrification, politicians did tend to listen to the concerns of their wealthier constituents at a higher rate. This research contributes to the existing literature on political representation, political incentives, representation, and voter behavior. The research shows how communities and residents’ sense of political efficacy evolves due to gentrification. The research also highlights the constraints that local politicians face when choosing policy agendas. While the findings for the research were significant, the research is not meant to be representative of general feelings of political representation in each neighborhood.