The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call: American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective

Bidragets oversatte titel: Finanskrisen som et Amerikansk wakeup call: Amerikanske holdninger til top indkomster i et dobbelt komparativt perspektiv

Andreas Pihl Kjærsgård

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review

Resumé

Because of their strong commitment to the “American dream” emphasizing that rewards are and should be proportional to effort, Americans are often argued to be exceptionally tolerant of economic inequality per se. In the wake of the financial crisis, revelations of the excessive inequalities in American society and the emergence of the “Occupy-Wall-Street” movement indicate discontent with the situation and question these assumptions. Using data from the International Social Survey Program’s Social Inequality modules I-IV (1987, 1992, 1999 and 2009), the article shows that the financial crisis spurred a dramatic increase in the perceived average level of earnings for the top of society. The Americans of 2009 are in fact, comparatively speaking, exceptionally discontented with this perceived level of top earnings, wishing it reduced by 60%. Random slope multilevel analyses also reveal that this post-crisis hostility is severest among the Americans who most vigorously defend the market-justice ideals of the American dream – that rewards should be proportional to effort. Even if Americans do seem to want the level of top earnings reduced significantly, they do not turn to traditional redistributive policies and the government to help solve the problem. Using earlier research and empirical results, we predict that the hostility spawned by the crisis will have little long-term effect on American attitudes towards wage-inequality, the role of government in addressing the issues, or on the actual policies enacted in the US.
OriginalsprogEngelsk
Publikationsdato2014
Antal sider41
StatusUdgivet - 2014
BegivenhedAmerican Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013 - New York, USA
Varighed: 10 aug. 201313 aug. 2013
Konferencens nummer: 108
http://www.asanet.org/am2013/am2013.cfm

Konference

KonferenceAmerican Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013
Nummer108
LandUSA
ByNew York
Periode10/08/201313/08/2013
Internetadresse

Fingerprint

financial crisis
reward
ISSP
social inequality
speaking
wage
justice
commitment
market
economics
Society

Bibliografisk note

ASA Annual Meeting archival website

Emneord

  • American exceptionalism
  • American dream
  • Attitudes to inequality
  • Attitudes to redistribution
  • Attitudes to top earnings
  • The financial crisis

Citer dette

Kjærsgård, A. P. (2014). The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call: American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective. Afhandling præsenteret på American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013, New York, USA.
Kjærsgård, Andreas Pihl. / The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call : American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective. Afhandling præsenteret på American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013, New York, USA.41 s.
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Kjærsgård, AP 2014, 'The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call: American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective' Paper fremlagt ved, New York, USA, 10/08/2013 - 13/08/2013, .

The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call : American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective. / Kjærsgård, Andreas Pihl.

2014. Afhandling præsenteret på American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013, New York, USA.

Publikation: Konferencebidrag uden forlag/tidsskriftPaper uden forlag/tidsskriftForskningpeer review

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N2 - Because of their strong commitment to the “American dream” emphasizing that rewards are and should be proportional to effort, Americans are often argued to be exceptionally tolerant of economic inequality per se. In the wake of the financial crisis, revelations of the excessive inequalities in American society and the emergence of the “Occupy-Wall-Street” movement indicate discontent with the situation and question these assumptions. Using data from the International Social Survey Program’s Social Inequality modules I-IV (1987, 1992, 1999 and 2009), the article shows that the financial crisis spurred a dramatic increase in the perceived average level of earnings for the top of society. The Americans of 2009 are in fact, comparatively speaking, exceptionally discontented with this perceived level of top earnings, wishing it reduced by 60%. Random slope multilevel analyses also reveal that this post-crisis hostility is severest among the Americans who most vigorously defend the market-justice ideals of the American dream – that rewards should be proportional to effort. Even if Americans do seem to want the level of top earnings reduced significantly, they do not turn to traditional redistributive policies and the government to help solve the problem. Using earlier research and empirical results, we predict that the hostility spawned by the crisis will have little long-term effect on American attitudes towards wage-inequality, the role of government in addressing the issues, or on the actual policies enacted in the US.

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Kjærsgård AP. The Financial Crisis as an American Wakeup Call: American Attitudes to Top Earnings in a Double Comparative Perspective. 2014. Afhandling præsenteret på American Sociological Association Annual Meeting 2013, New York, USA.