High Economic Inequality Makes Us Feel Less Wealthy
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AuthorSánchez Rodríguez, Ángel; Jetten, Jolanda; Willis Sánchez, Guillermo Byrd; Rodríguez Bailón, Rosa María
Economic inequalityObjective wealthPerceived wealthMiddle-classSocial comparison
Sánchez-Rodríguez, Á, et al. (2019). High Economic Inequality Makes Us Feel Less Wealthy. International Review of Social Psychology, 32(1): 17, 1–11.
Given that people evaluate their own income and that of their group by comparing it with that of others, economic inequality (i.e., the gap between the poor and the wealthy) may affect how people perceive their ingroup wealth. Additional analyses of data of six previously conducted studies (n = 747) provided initial evidence that individuals with average levels of affluence felt that their income group was less wealthy when inequality was high than when it was low. The seventh study consisted of a preregistered experiment to independently test our hypothesis (n = 222). As predicted, compared to participants in the low inequality condition, those in the high inequality condition perceived their own group as less wealthy. The discussion focuses on the importance of considering self-perceived wealth in research on economic inequality.