Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Political Science

Major Professor

Nathan Kelly

Committee Members

Jana Morgan, Paul Gellert, Adrienne Smith


This study examines how financial deregulation and partisan politics shaped American market-based income distribution from 1914 to 2012 through a process called market conditioning. By using time-series data analysis, I access the effect of legislative and bureaucratic financial deregulation on market-based income concentration for the very wealthy. Then, I use process-tracing to determine why both political parties converged in the 1980s to support financial deregulation. I find financial deregulation does increase market-based income for top income earners, especially the top .01 percent. In addition, I determine that both parties were captured by neoliberal economic ideology and through the bureaucracy, shaped the financial free market in favor of the top income earners.

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