Monday, August 11, 2014

Psychological Barriers in Economic Inequality Reduction

Today I wrote a blog for New Left Project on psychology research examining perceptions of, and responses to, economic inequality. The post features cutting-edge research by prominent social psychologists Mike Norton and Dan Ariely, as well as research from my own laboratory at the University of Illinois. An excerpt:

"The United States is one of the most unequal and rigidly stratified societies in the industrialised world.  In the wake of the Great Recession, it has become increasingly clear that success in America flows to the wealthy and the well-connected.  Why do these inequities persist in the face of steady unemployment, abject poverty and rising homelessness? 

Why do they not meet with stronger resistance?  A crucial part of the explanation has to do with our psychology: economic inequality continues largely without objection in American society in part because of basic psychological processes at work within everyday Americans." 

Read the rest of the article over at New Left Project.

If you are interested in some of the source material from this blog post, you can check out some of the original research on my laboratory website (

And if you are interested in the psychology of economic inequality. You might want to head over to this piece I wrote for Livescience on the economic inequality paradox. In that post, I wonder why inequality continues to persist despite us knowing a lot about how it is harmful to all Americans. At PYM we also have a collection of posts on the psychology of economic inequality: here.

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