What do Americans know about inequality? It depends on how you ask them
2012 (English)In: Judgment and decision making, ISSN 1930-2975, Vol. 7, 741-745 p.Article in journal (Other academic) Published
A recent survey of inequality (Norton and Ariely, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 9–12) asked respondentsto indicate what percent of the nation’s total wealth is—and should be—controlled by richer and poorer quintiles ofthe U.S. population. We show that such measures lead to powerful anchoring effects that account for the otherwiseremarkable findings that respondents reported perceiving, and desiring, extremely low inequality in wealth. We showthat the same anchoring effects occur in other domains, namely web page popularity and school teacher salaries. Weintroduce logically equivalent questions about average levels of inequality that lead to more accurate responses. Finally,when we made respondents aware of the logical connection between the two measures, the majority said that typicalresponses to the average measures, indicating higher levels of inequality, better reflected their actual perceptions andpreferences than did typical responses to percent measures.Keywords: inequality, response bias, anchoring-and-adjustment,
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2012. Vol. 7, 741-745 p.
inequality, response bias, anchoring-and-adjustment, replication study.
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-82910OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-82910DiVA: diva2:573054