Very interesting post. Something similar (but maybe not quite as detailed or quantified) was done in the UK. I believe the results were similar. Those near the bottom felt that there was too much of an income gap but underestimated how much the top earners actually earned. Those near the top of the income distribution, overestimated how much you needed to earn in order to be near the top.
h/t to Paul Kedrosy for posting about an interesting income inequality article:
Dan Ariely et al. conducted a recent research study on people’s perceptions of US income inequality. They had three major findings:
- Respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality.
- Respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution.
- 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.
Just recently in a Global Health course, we were shown the breakdown of global income inequality. It’s also pretty ridiculous. In fact, 40% of world’s wealth is owned by 1% of the population. In fact, the richest fifth of the population receives 82.7% of the total world income.
One can also see that the disparity is widening:
Data taken from…
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