Commentary on economic inequality: "What" and "who" constitutes research on social inequality in developmental science?

Leoandra Onnie Rogers*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


A focal goal of development science in recent years has been to document and understand the psychological processes that underlie inequality toward the goal of promoting equity and justice (e.g., Killen, Rutland, & Yip, 2016). This timely special section on economic inequality broadens the empirical conversation, which has centered mostly on race and gender, to include how children and adolescents perceive, experience, and reason about economic inequality in their social worlds. From the perspective of the broader literature on children's developing understanding of social identities and inequalities, I reflect on 3 observations raised collectively in these special section articles: (a) how economic inequality is defined and for whom; (b) the role of intersectionality; and (c) the dearth of longitudinal data. I suggest that developmental scholarship on inequality has focused on particular aspects of inequality (poverty and oppression) for particular demographic groups (ethnic-racial minority populations) and relied on crosssectional (rather than longitudinal) data to draw conclusions about development. These observations are not necessarily unique to the articles in this special section but warrant consideration across the scholarship on inequality in developmental science.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)586-591
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental psychology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2019


  • Developmental science
  • Inequality
  • Intersectionality
  • Social justice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Demography
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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