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Title: Why wealthier people think people are wealthier, and why it matters : from social sampling to attitudes to redistribution
Author: Dawtry, Rael
ISNI:       0000 0004 5921 1320
Awarding Body: University of Kent
Current Institution: University of Kent
Date of Award: 2016
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Drawing on research and theory (discussed in Chapter 1) emphasising cognitive-ecological interaction and sampling processes in judgment (e.g., Fiedler, 2000), the present research investigated the role of social sampling (Galesic, Olsson & Reiskamp, 2012) in preferences for wealth redistribution. Two studies (Ch. 2) provide evidence that social sampling leads wealthier people to oppose redistributive policies. Wealthier participants reported higher levels of wealth in their social circles (Studies 1a and 1b) and, in turn, estimated wealthier population distributions, perceived the distribution as fairer and were more opposed to redistribution. Study 2 (Ch. 2), drawing data from a nationally representative survey, revealed that neighbourhood-level deprivation – an objective index of social circle wealth – mediated the relation between income and satisfaction with the economic status quo. In Studies 3a and 3b (Ch. 3), participants experimentally presented with a low (high) wealth income sample subsequently estimated poorer (wealthier) population distributions, demonstrating reliance upon the novel samples. The effect of the manipulation on redistributive preferences was sequentially mediated via estimated population distributions and fairness, such that participants shown a high wealth sample estimated less unequal (3a) or wealthier (3b) distributions, perceived the distribution as fairer and were more opposed to redistribution. Studies 4a and 4b (Ch. 4) tested whether warning against social sampling, providing an alternative sample or both interventions together might serve to reduce social sampling. Whereas providing an alternative sample alone was sufficient to eliminate social sampling (4a and 4b), providing a warning had no effect (4a), and providing both an alternative sample and a warning lead to an increase in social sampling (4a and 4b). Taken together, the findings suggest that a) social sampling produces systematic differences in wealthier and poorer peoples’ perceptions of the income distribution, b) social sampling contributes to divergence in the economic preferences of wealthy and poor and c) social sampling is likely immune to deliberate control efforts.
Supervisor: Sutton, Robbie Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology ; H Social Sciences ; HA Statistics