What do Americans know about inequality? It depends on how you ask them
Kimmo Eriksson and
Judgment and Decision Making, 2012, vol. 7, issue 6, 741-745
A recent survey of inequality (Norton and Ariely, Perspectives on Psychological Science, 6, 9-12) asked respondents to indicate what percent of the nation's total wealth is---and should be---controlled by richer and poorer quintiles of the U.S. population. We show that such measures lead to powerful anchoring effects that account for the otherwise remarkable findings that respondents reported perceiving, and desiring, extremely low inequality in wealth. We show that the same anchoring effects occur in other domains, namely web page popularity and school teacher salaries. We introduce 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 typical responses to the average measures, indicating higher levels of inequality, better reflected their actual perceptions and preferences than did typical responses to percent measures.
Keywords: inequality; response bias; anchoring-and-adjustment; replication study. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (18) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:jdm:journl:v:7:y:2012:i:6:p:741-745
Access Statistics for this article
Judgment and Decision Making is currently edited by Jonathan Baron
More articles in Judgment and Decision Making from Society for Judgment and Decision Making
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Jonathan Baron ().