You might think that in a time when more money is concentrated in fewer hands and incomes vary wildly from billions to subsistence, poor people might increase their support for government policies that offer some help.
Not in America.
New research findings add complexity to the basic assumption that humans act in their own economic self-interest. By analyzing hundreds of survey questions from 1952 to 2006, Peter Enns, assistant professor of government, and Nathan Kelly of the University of Tennessee found that as inequality rises, low income individuals’ attitudes toward redistribution become more conservative. Their paper appears in the October issue of the American Journal of Political Science.
“It’s a bit of a conundrum,” Enns admits.