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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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Social Comparison and Status Perceptions

Social Comparison and Status Perceptions

Chapter:
(p.91) Chapter 6 Social Comparison and Status Perceptions
Source:
The Economic Other
Author(s):

Meghan Condon

Amber Wichowsky

Publisher:
University of Chicago Press
DOI:10.7208/chicago/9780226691909.003.0006

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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