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

    Abstrakt

    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.
    Bidragets oversatte titelFinanskrisen som et Amerikansk wakeup call: Amerikanske holdninger til top indkomster i et dobbelt komparativt perspektiv
    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
    Land/OmrådeUSA
    ByNew York
    Periode10/08/201313/08/2013
    Internetadresse

    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

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