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Does inequality exacerbate status anxiety among higher earners? A longitudinal evaluation

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-07-07, 10:24 authored by David Bartram
According to The Spirit Level, inequality is bad for everyone—including people with higher incomes. That conclusion is evident also in research exploring the impact of inequality on status anxiety. But existing research on this topic is cross-sectional (and gives too much weight to statistical significance). I construct a longitudinal analysis to explore whether status anxiety increases with inequality, especially among higher earners. I use country-level averages of status anxiety for this purpose and ignore individual-level control variables, on the grounds that they are not antecedents of the focal independent variable, inequality. In contrast to previous research, I find that increases in inequality lead to lower levels of status anxiety for higher earners. People at the top appear to benefit from inequality in this sense—a finding that runs against the idea that inequality is bad for everyone.

History

Citation

International Journal of Comparative Sociology, May 2022

Author affiliation

School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

International Journal of Comparative Sociology

Publisher

SAGE Publications

issn

0020-7152

eissn

1745-2554

Copyright date

2022

Available date

2022-07-07

Language

en

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