Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Inequality is one of the most pressing economic issues in today’s world. High levels of economic inequality are associated with a large number of negative economic side effects and with correspondingly high levels of political inequality. This results in the voices of the few being heard more loudly than the voices of the many and a disruption of democracy. However, in the United States there seems to be very little political will to take action that might curb the problem of inequality. Many scholars agree that the defining aspect of a person’s opinion on the subject is their own self-interest, but perception of self-interest is influenced by a number of factors. These include but are not limited to political affiliation, age, income level, and level of education. All of these impact the extent to which an individual might feel that inequality of wealth and power is a problem. Using 2012 ANES election data, I have attempted to determine what impact, if any, income and other variables may or may not have on perceptions of inequality. I hypothesized that, as income increases, worries about the danger of inequality decline. While my hypothesis was confirmed to a limited extent, it has become apparent that other factors, namely political affiliation, are much more important determinants than income, some even by an order of magnitude.


Presented at the Spring 2015 Student Research Day at Chapman University.