Working paper
Open access

A Distorting Mirror: Ideological preferences and mis-perceptions of economic inequality

Number of pages42
First online date2022-01-25

Economic inequality is one of the most debated issues in contemporary times, yet little political action has been taken to tackle increasing levels of economic disparities. Some scholars have argued that one explanation might be people's distorted perception of their economic situation and of income inequality. The origins of this mis-perception are still unclear. In particular, the role of ideology and partisan identification remains under-explored and the little research focuses almost exclusively on the United States. However, if distortions in perceptions of inequality have an ideological leaning, this could have severe consequences for how these views get translated in the political system. Taking advantage of a new survey on inequality perceptions, we are able to evaluate how partisanship affects citizens' inequality evaluations across 13 Western countries. We test how party identification influences people's perception of their economic situations and their ability to assess the overall level of inequality. We then put this partisan bias in relation with demands for redistribution. The contribution of this study is double-fold: firstly, we shed new light on the phenomenon of inequality by looking at its psychological roots and secondly, we examine one of its potential explanation comparatively.

  • European Commission - Unequal Democracies [741538]
Citation (ISO format)
VOLPI, Elisa, GIGER, Nathalie. A Distorting Mirror: Ideological preferences and mis-perceptions of economic inequality. 2022
Main files (1)
Working paper
  • PID : unige:158375

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Creation01/25/2022 1:04:00 PM
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