Grey Power: Towards a Political Economy of Older Voters in the UK

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The impact of age on voting behaviour and political outcomes has become an issue of increasing interest, particularly in the UK. Age divides in voter turnout and political preferences have led to claims that age is the ‘new class’. In this article, we contrast existing ‘cultural backlash’ and political economy explanations of the age divide in politics, and challenge the view that older people are predominantly ‘left behind’, culturally or economically. We show that older people have distinct material interests, related to housing wealth and pensions’ income, that are visible in their political preferences. We argue for the development of a new political economy of age.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)743-756
Number of pages14
JournalPolitical Quarterly
Issue number4
Early online date13 Aug 2019
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2019


  • Brexit
  • housing
  • intergenerational inequality
  • older voters
  • patrimonial voting
  • pensions

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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