behavioraleconomicsresearch

Researchers are exploring the influence of inequality on how we behave.

Source: Money on the Mind

Psychology Today Editorial Staff

By Abigail Fagan

Income inequality in the United States has reached its highest peak since the Great Depression. Americans in the top 1 percent of earners currently make a staggering 40 times as much as the bottom 90 percent. Furthermore, in 1978 the top 0.1 percent of the population laid claim to 7 percent of the nation’s wealth. By 2012, that amount had increased to 22 percent. Across industrialized nations, income inequality has been linked to an array of harmful outcomes, including higher rates of debt, crime, mental illness, and even mortality.

To better understand such correlations, researchers are investigating how economic inequality might influence the behavior of those who are aware of it.

“There’s rather little understanding about how income inequality affects how individuals…

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