Still Great: Subjective Intergenerational Mobility and Income Inequality

In: Comparative Sociology
Eyal Bar-Haim PEARL Institute for Research on Socio-Economic Inequality (IRSEI), University of Luxembourg Luxembourg

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In recent years, the authors of several studies have established that income inequality is negatively associated with intergenerational income mobility in a phenomenon known as “The Great Gatsby Curve.” Yet, extant research on the effects of inequality and social mobility on people’s perceptions and social and political behavior has yielded contradicting results. In light of these inconsistencies, the aim of the current study was to evaluate the association between income inequality and subjective intergenerational mobility. Using data from 40 countries, the effect of income inequality on subjective mobility was examined, along with their combined effect on views regarding redistribution. The results indicated that income inequality increases mainly subjective downward mobility. The effect of subjective mobility on the attitudes toward redistribution was found to be substantial, but there were no significant results highlighting an interaction between inequality and subjective mobility. The results show how individual perceptions of opportunity inequalities are affected by the structural constraints of society. The social implications of these results are discussed herein.

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