Building a Better America-One Wealth Quintile at a Time.

Published

Journal Article

Disagreements about the optimal level of wealth inequality underlie policy debates ranging from taxation to welfare. We attempt to insert the desires of "regular" Americans into these debates, by asking a nationally representative online panel to estimate the current distribution of wealth in the United States and to "build a better America" by constructing distributions with their ideal level of inequality. First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups-even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy-desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Norton, MI; Ariely, D

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 9 - 12

PubMed ID

  • 26162108

Pubmed Central ID

  • 26162108

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1745-6924

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1745-6916

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1177/1745691610393524

Language

  • eng