Public Views of Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution: Evidence from Media Coverage and Experimental Inquiry

  • McCall, Leslie J (PD/PI)
  • Richeson, Jennifer Anne (Co-PD/PI)

Project: Research project

Project Details


Our proposed research will examine a theme running throughout the Request for Proposals: the American public's understanding of economic inequality and their political orientation toward addressing it. It is widely thought that most Americans are ignorant of, distracted from, or unconcerned with rising income inequality. At the same time - and consistent with survey research stretching back decades, the Occupy movements, and the issues headlining this year's presidential campaign - desires for less inequality are readily apparent. Our proposed research seeks to reconcile these alternative perspectives in developing and testing a framework for understanding views not only about income inequality but also about economic opportunity and redistributive policies. We focus on predictors of concern about income inequality itself as well as the causal pathways through which beliefs/concerns about income inequality and economic opportunity shape support for redistributive policy preferences in both the labor market and by government. Our empirical analyses include two primary components: a content analysis of media discourses of economic inequality over the past three decades and an experimental inquiry into Americans' attitudes about inequality, opportunity, and redistribution.
Effective start/end date1/1/136/30/18


  • Russell Sage Foundation (RSF Project # 83-13-05)


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