Exposure to inequality reduces support for ‘millionaire’s tax’

Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 14:12 in Psychology & Sociology

Can exposure to inequality influence whether people support proposals such as the so-called “millionaire’s tax”? The answer is yes, but not in the direction many might think, according to a new Harvard study. The study, conducted by Melissa Sands, a Ph.D. student in the Department of Government at the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, found that following momentary exposure to inequality, support for a millionaire’s tax dropped by more than 50 percent. The research is described in a recently published paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. When pedestrians passed an affluent-looking white person on the street, Sands found, 14 percent were willing to support the tax, but after seeing a poor-looking white person, that support fell by more than half, to just 6 percent. By comparison, support for a different petition, to curb the use of plastic bags, remained constant. Similar tests performed with both affluent- and poor-looking black...

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