Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-14-2015

Faculty Advisor(s)

Ann Gordon


Income inequality has been increasing in the United States since the 1970s. The recession and recovery only exacerbated this disparity, with the top earners rising in wealth at unprecedented levels, while wages for middle class people remained stagnant. However, this issue of increasing income inequality has not been seen as an issue of importance in mainstream discussion and little has been done by politicians to address it. While research has been conducted regarding the relationship between peoples’ perceptions of inequality and factors such as the political economic system, expectations of the economy, cultural values, and actual levels of inequality, there are still factors to be examined. Using data from the American National Election Studies 2012 Time Series Study this paper explores the factors of political identity, level of education, and income in their effect on perceptions of income inequality in the U.S. Political identity in terms of the American two-party system and education have not been studied directly as causes for perceptions of inequality in the U.S. In addition, while there are several researchers who do attribute an individual’s personal wealth and income to being a primary factor affecting their perception of inequality, there is antithetical evidence, including data from the ANES study, indicating that there is actually an insignificant correlation between income and perceptions of income inequality. By examining the relationship between these factors, the disconnect between the reality of the increasing economic divide in the United States and the lack of action against this movement can be understood.


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

Access to this poster is restricted to Chapman University students, faculty, staff, and affiliates.

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