Friday, March 8, 2013

Wealth Inequality - Most Americans Have No Clue

Although I've read about the Ariely and Norton study and talked about the results in my classes, I've only recently stumbled across the YouTube video that  takes the data from the study (and a couple other stats on wealth and income inequality) and cleverly attempts to explain the results from a graphical perspective.

For those unfamiliar with the research, a study by Dan Ariely (Duke) and Michael Norton (Harvard) in 2011 attempts to measure the difference between what average Americans believe is the level of wealth distribution in the US and what it actually is.  They also ask average Americans to reveal what they believe is the "ideal" wealth distribution for a country and compare that to what citizens estimated wealth distribution to be and the actual levels.  The results are fascinating.

I've included, below, a link to their paper published in Perspectives on Psychological Science that includes a comparison of the results for democrats, republicans, men, women, wealthy, and poor.

Quote from their paper, "Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups—even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy—desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo."

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