Exploring the Absolutist Vs Relativist Perception of Poverty Using a Cross-Country Questionnaire Survey
Questionnaires eliciting the absolutist Vs relativist perception of poverty are administered to 1,941 undergraduate students in eight countries –Bolivia, Brazil, Italy, Kenya, Laos, Sweden, Switzerland and the UK. We find that the perception of poverty expressed by a large fraction of respondents exhibits both absolutist and relativist concerns, with the former components prevailing over the latter. High-income countries exhibit a significantly more pronounced relativist attitude. Personal characteristics such as past experience of material hardship and relative standard of living play a germane role in shaping respondents’ views.
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