EconPapers    
Economics at your fingertips  
 

Deliberating inequality: a blueprint for studying the social formation of beliefs about economic inequality

Kate Summers, Fabien Accominotti, Tania Burchardt, Katharina Hecht, Liz Mann and Jonathan J.B Mijs

LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library

Abstract: In most contemporary societies, people underestimate the extent of economic inequality, resulting in lower support for taxation and redistribution than might be expressed by better informed citizens. We still know little, however, about how understandings of inequality arise, and therefore about where perceptions and misperceptions of it might come from. This methodological article takes one step toward filling this gap by developing a research design—a blueprint—to study how people’s understandings of wealth and income inequality develop through social interaction. Our approach combines insights from recent scholarship highlighting the socially situated character of inequality beliefs with those of survey experimental work testing how information about inequality changes people’s understandings of it. Specifically, we propose to use deliberative focus groups to approximate the interactional contexts in which individuals process information and form beliefs in social life. Leveraging an experimental methodology, our design then varies the social makeup of deliberative groups, as well as the information about inequality we share with participants, to explore how different types of social environments and information shape people’s understandings of economic inequality. This should let us test, in particular, whether the low socioeconomic diversity of people’s discussion and interaction networks relates to their tendency to underestimate inequality, and whether beliefs about opportunity explain people’s lack of appetite for redistributive policies. In this exploratory article we motivate our methodological apparatus and describe its key features, before reflecting on the findings from a proof-of-concept study conducted in London in the fall of 2019.

Keywords: economic inequality; perceptions; public opinion; deliberative focus groups; experimental methods; Experimental methods; Economic inequality; Perceptions; Deliberative focus groups; Public opinion; Suntory and Toyota International Centre for Economics and Related Discipline; International Inequalities Institute; Springer deal (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: N0 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 22 pages
Date: 2022-04-01
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-exp, nep-his and nep-pke
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: Track citations by RSS feed

Published in Social Justice Research, 1, April, 2022, 35(4), pp. 379 - 400. ISSN: 0885-7466

Downloads: (external link)
http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/114591/ Open access version. (application/pdf)

Related works:
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.

Export reference: BibTeX RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan) HTML/Text

Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ehl:lserod:114591

Access Statistics for this paper

More papers in LSE Research Online Documents on Economics from London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library LSE Library Portugal Street London, WC2A 2HD, U.K.. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by LSERO Manager ().

 
Page updated 2024-03-04
Handle: RePEc:ehl:lserod:114591