CEPR - Center for Economic and Policy Research

Multimedia

En Español

Em Português

Other Languages

Home Publications Blogs CEPR Blog Actually Existing Capitalism

Actually Existing Capitalism

Print
Written by John Schmitt   
Monday, 27 September 2010 06:57

Michael Norton (of Harvard Business School) and Dan Ariely (of Duke) have released results (pdf) from a series of experiments they did in 2005 on the subject of wealth inequality. They asked individuals in a nationally representative online panel to (1) estimate the current US distribution of wealth and (2) “build a better America” by describing what they thought would be the “ideal” wealth distribution.

The key findings:

First, respondents dramatically underestimated the current level of wealth inequality. Second, respondents constructed ideal wealth distributions that were far more equitable than even their erroneously low estimates of the actual distribution. Most important from a policy perspective, we observed a surprising level of consensus: All demographic groups – even those not usually associated with wealth redistribution such as Republicans and the wealthy – desired a more equal distribution of wealth than the status quo.

This figure from the paper shows the actual distribution of wealth, respondents’ average estimate of the actual distribution, and their “ideal” distribution:

norton, ariely distribution of wealth

Source: Norton and Ariely.

Even those respondents who voted for George W. Bush look like they’re far to the left of “actually existing capitalism.” In the actual distribution, the top fifth holds over 80 percent of all wealth in the United States. On average, Bush voters estimated that the true share was close to, but not quite 60 percent. Ideally, however, Bush voters believed the top 20 percent should have about 35 percent of all wealth (for Kerry voters, it was about 30 percent).

This piece is crossposted with John Schmitt's blog, No Apparent Motive.

Comments (2)Add Comment
...
written by China Electronics Wholesale, October 20, 2010 10:30
The leading China wholesale electronics marketplaces!
moncler jackets men
written by moncler jackets, November 24, 2010 12:11
Moncler jackets on sale sports apparel company established in 1952 Rome, Texas Lemon village in the French Alps. In an unprecedented social shop moncler sale is the inventor of the famous hot, very light, ideal for all winter ski clothes simple colors. Moncler jackets for cheap and comfortable port of French fashion is not so outdated. We believe

Write comment

(Only one link allowed per comment)

This content has been locked. You can no longer post any comments.

busy
 

CEPR.net
Support this blog, donate
Combined Federal Campaign #79613
budget economy education employment Haiti health care housing inequality jobs labor labor market minimum wage paid family leave poverty recession retirement Social Security taxes unemployment unions wages Wall Street women workers working class

+ All tags