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American's desire for less wealth inequality does not depend on how you ask them


  • Michael I. Norton
  • Dan Ariely


A large body of survey research offers evidence that citizens are not always fully aware of the economic and political realities in their respective countries. Norton and Ariely (2011) extended this research to the domain of wealth inequality, showing that Americans were surprisingly unaware of the shape of the wealth distribution in America. Using an alternative methodology, Eriksson and Simpson (2012) found that asking Americans to estimate the average wealth of quintiles, rather than the percent of wealth owned by each quintile, led to relatively more accurate estimates. We note, however, that the Eriksson and Simpson (2012) results do not challenge Norton and Ariely's (2011) conclusion that Americans desire a much more equal distribution of wealth.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael I. Norton & Dan Ariely, 2013. "American's desire for less wealth inequality does not depend on how you ask them," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 8(3), pages 393-394, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:jdm:journl:v:8:y:2013:i:3:p:393-394

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:95:y:2001:i:02:p:379-396_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    4. Kimmo Eriksson & Brent Simpson, 2012. "What do Americans know about inequality? It depends on how you ask them," Judgment and Decision Making, Society for Judgment and Decision Making, vol. 7(6), pages 741-745, November.
    5. Alberto Alesina & Edward Glaeser & Bruce Sacerdote, 2001. "Why Doesn't the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 32(2), pages 187-278.
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    wealth inequality; judgment elicitation.;


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