Personality and Attitudes
Income inequality affects people’s personalities and how they perceive themselves and others.
Key findings from the research include:
- People in less equal countries are less likely to believe that most people can be trusted, have less interest in politics, less confidence in their parliament, are more likely to believe that there needs to be more respect for authority, more likely to think that children should be obedient and less likely to believe that children should be independent9.
- People in countries with high levels of inequality are more likely to believe that those at the top of their society are competent and those at the bottom are not but have warmer attitudes to those at the bottom than the top. More unequal societies are also more likely to believe that competition between groups leads to competent outcomes10.
- Research has suggested that people in less equal societies have different personalities. A study found that people in less equal US states were on average less agreeable and less likely to be empathetic, trust people, cooperate or be altruistic11.