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What underlies the Great Gatsby Curve? Psychological micro-foundations of the “vicious circle” of poverty

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  • Arthur Sakamoto

    ()

  • Jason Rarick

    ()

  • Hyeyoung Woo

    ()

  • Sharron Wang

    ()

Abstract

Societies with a higher level of income inequality tend to have lower levels of intergenerational income mobility. Known as the Great Gatsby Curve, this negative relationship in part derives from greater intergenerational economic heritance among the poor. Societies with higher rates of relative poverty will have a higher level of income inequality, but they will also tend to have lower intergenerational mobility due to the reduced capacity of low-income persons to become upwardly mobile. Reviewing relevant research in psychology, we describe how poverty is associated with decreased psychological resources that compromise the competitiveness of low-income persons for superior attainment in the educational system and for greater productivity in the labor market. Economic deprivation in itself thus leads to a “vicious circle” of disadvantage that diminishes intergenerational mobility even without the existence of any culture of poverty or monopolistic institutions in the economy. Copyright Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Suggested Citation

  • Arthur Sakamoto & Jason Rarick & Hyeyoung Woo & Sharron Wang, 2014. "What underlies the Great Gatsby Curve? Psychological micro-foundations of the “vicious circle” of poverty," Mind & Society: Cognitive Studies in Economics and Social Sciences, Springer;Fondazione Rosselli, vol. 13(2), pages 195-211, November.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:minsoc:v:13:y:2014:i:2:p:195-211
    DOI: 10.1007/s11299-014-0144-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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