Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Some Incomes Are Less Unequel Than Others

Meeting poor people does not make others want to subsidize them:
According to the data, which was published Wednesday, only 6 percent of people would sign the petition after passing a poor-looking white actor on the street. By comparison, 14 percent signed the same petition when they passed an affluent-looking white actor.

The petitions were held by students who were placed just feet away from the actors.

Nothing changed when the same test was conducted with poor- and affluent-looking black actors. In addition, support for a different cause, eliminating plastic bags, remained constant regardless of the socio-economic status of the actors involved.

Sands’ study was one of the first to utilize income inequality in a real-world setting to determine people’s openness to higher taxes.

“One way this study departs from what’s been done previously is that this is the first study to experimentally manipulate inequality in the real world,” Sands said. “Most prior studies used a survey approach, in which they would show participants a chart or provide them with some information, and then ask questions.

“This is a big departure from that,” she continued, “because we’re creating what I call ‘microsettings’ of inequality.”

Sands sought to explain why the results were different from what she anticipated. She said the fact that people only received “momentary exposure” to the poor- and affluent-looking actors influenced their decision-making.

“In this study, people are not stopping and talking to the person, they’re not spending the day volunteering in a homeless shelter or seeing how the other half lives,” the doctoral student said. “It’s a momentary exposure … so I think the effect I’m finding here is something that just occurs in the moment, and with repeated exposure we might actually see the effect reverse.”
Or, maybe not...

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