Skip to main content

Why wealthier people think people are wealthier, and why it matters: From social sampling to attitudes to redistribution

Dawtry, Rael (2016) Why wealthier people think people are wealthier, and why it matters: From social sampling to attitudes to redistribution. Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) thesis, University of Kent,.

PDF
Download (1MB) Preview
[img]
Preview

Abstract

Drawing on research and theory (discussed in Chapter 1) emphasising cognitive-ecological interaction and sampling processes in judgment (e.g., Fiedler, 2000), the present research investigated the role of social sampling (Galesic, Olsson & Reiskamp, 2012) in preferences for wealth redistribution. Two studies (Ch. 2) provide evidence that social sampling leads wealthier people to oppose redistributive policies. Wealthier participants reported higher levels of wealth in their social circles (Studies 1a and 1b) and, in turn, estimated wealthier population distributions, perceived the distribution as fairer and were more opposed to redistribution. Study 2 (Ch. 2), drawing data from a nationally representative survey, revealed that neighbourhood-level deprivation – an objective index of social circle wealth – mediated the relation between income and satisfaction with the economic status quo. In Studies 3a and 3b (Ch. 3), participants experimentally presented with a low (high) wealth income sample subsequently estimated poorer (wealthier) population distributions, demonstrating reliance upon the novel samples. The effect of the manipulation on redistributive preferences was sequentially mediated via estimated population distributions and fairness, such that participants shown a high wealth sample estimated less unequal (3a) or wealthier (3b) distributions, perceived the distribution as fairer and were more opposed to redistribution. Studies 4a and 4b (Ch. 4) tested whether warning against social sampling, providing an alternative sample or both interventions together might serve to reduce social sampling. Whereas providing an alternative sample alone was sufficient to eliminate social sampling (4a and 4b), providing a warning had no effect (4a), and providing both an alternative sample and a warning lead to an increase in social sampling (4a and 4b). Taken together, the findings suggest that a) social sampling produces systematic differences in wealthier and poorer peoples’ perceptions of the income distribution, b) social sampling contributes to divergence in the economic preferences of wealthy and poor and c) social sampling is likely immune to deliberate control efforts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy (PhD))
Thesis advisor: Sutton, Robbie
Uncontrolled keywords: inequality, redistribution, social cognition, political attitudes, socioeconomic status, socioecological psychology
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences
H Social Sciences > HA Statistics
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology > Social Psychology
Depositing User: Users 1 not found.
Date Deposited: 20 Apr 2016 11:00 UTC
Last Modified: 29 May 2019 17:15 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/55078 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
  • Depositors only (login required):

Downloads

Downloads per month over past year