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When everyone thinks they're middle-class: (Mis-)Perceptions of inequality and why they matter for social policy

Wenn alle Teil der Mittelschicht sein wollen: (Fehl-)Wahrnehmungen von Ungleichheit und warum sie für Sozialpolitik wichtig sind

Luna Bellani (), Nona Bledow, Marius R. Busemeyer and Guido Schwerdt ()

No 6, Policy Papers from University of Konstanz, Cluster of Excellence "The Politics of Inequality. Perceptions, Participation and Policies"

Abstract: Current levels of social and economic inequalities are an enduring challenge for policymakers concerned with sustaining high levels of prosperity and social mobility. Understanding which types of inequalities people in Germany regard as important is crucial. Using survey data, this paper presents evidence that misperceptions about inequality among the German population are common. Inequality is perceived as a problem and most respondents would prefer a more egalitarian society. However, people still underestimate the extent of inequality in important ways. This suggests that there is the potential for a policy agenda that emphasizes progressive and egalitarian policies. For such policies to gain public support, they should be tied to information on specific aspects of inequality.

Date: 2021
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