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The Economic OtherInequality in the American Political Imagination$
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Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky

Print publication date: 2020

Print ISBN-13: 9780226691732

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226691909.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 20 September 2021

Social Comparison and Status Perceptions

Social Comparison and Status Perceptions

(p.91) Chapter 6 Social Comparison and Status Perceptions
The Economic Other

Meghan Condon

Amber Wichowsky

University of Chicago Press

Many Americans misperceive their place in the income distribution. This chapter presents experimental findings demonstrating that individuals can use social comparisons to make sense of the socioeconomic hierarchy and their place within it. The authors show that social comparison with people who are economically different makes people more accurate about their own socioeconomic status, even when no factual information about the income distribution is provided. When the wealthy think about the poor, they are more aware of their advantage; when the poor and the middle class think about the wealthy, they become more aware of their disadvantage and their perception of status falls.

Keywords:   social comparison, socioeconomic status, wealthy, poor, advantage, disadvantage, income distribution, perception, status perception, middle class

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