Feeling Wealthy Makes You Conservative

Thursday, 27 November 2014, 10:58 Hrs
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NEW YORK: People who feel wealthier are more likely to be politically conservative and oppose policies supporting wealth redistribution, shows a new research.

It revealed that feeling relatively wealthy not only led participants to oppose redistribution but also led them to view anyone who disagreed as blinded by self-interest.

"Peoples' support for tax and welfare policies depends on how well off each person feels at that moment," said psychological scientist and study co-author Keith Payne of University of North Carolina.

Perceived socio-economic status, how people judge their status relative to those around them, might be the more influential factor than actual household income in determining their attitude towards income inequality and wealth distribution, the findings showed.

"These findings are important because they suggest a mechanism by which inequality may lead to increases in political polarisation and conflict," Payne explained.

In online surveys, participants who were given feedback suggesting they had more discretionary income than "similar" peers showed less support for redistribution, and reported being more politically conservative than those who were told they were worse off than their peers.

In two additional experiments, participants were induced to feel wealthy or poor according to their performance in an investing game.

"When people were made to feel wealthier, they not only opposed redistribution but they also began endorsing more conservative principles and ideologies in general," Payne pointed out.

The study appeared in the journal Psychological Science.

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Source: IANS
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