By John Sides
A woman holds a sign as she attends an event in support of New York Mayor Bill de Blasio’s progressive agenda against income inequality outside the Capitol in Washington on May 12, 2015. (Carlos Barria/Reuters)
Some in this debate suggest that economic inequality isn’t that important after all. Instead, they argue, it’s economic opportunity that Americans really care about. Americans just want good jobs and the prospect of upward mobility. It’s not so important to them that the gap between the wealthy and everyone else continues to grow. Indeed, some Democratic strategists believe that focusing on inequality could backfire.
Our work suggests, however, that this view is mistaken. When Americans are told about the growth in economic inequality, they become more skeptical that opportunity exists. They also become more supportive of policies that redistribute income and pay.
We conducted a series of experiments in which survey respondents were either exposed to irrelevant trends in baseball statistics or were given objective information about trends in economic inequality.
The …read more
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