Want to influence support for redistributive tax policies? Choose your words carefully

Nov 02, 2012

Income inequality has become a major topic of discussion over the last year and yet consensus on what (if anything) should be done about it seems elusive. New research published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, suggests that a simple manipulation of language might be able to influence support for policies aimed at addressing income inequality.

Income can be described in two ways: as the rich making more than the poor, or as the poor making less than the rich. The two descriptions convey identical information, but research has shown that the way in which inequalities are framed influences what we think other people ought to have.

Researchers Rosalind Chow and Jeff Galak of the Tepper School of Business at Carnegie Mellon University hypothesized that framing inequality in terms of the rich making more than the poor would highlight how wealthy the rich are and would increase people's to take this wealth away from them. Why? Chow and Galak thought that framing inequality this way might make people more uncertain about whether the wealthy are rich because of internal attributes (e.g., being hard-working) or because of external advantages (e.g., receiving inherited wealth). They hypothesized that this effect would be especially noticeable among conservatives, who are less likely to support redistributive tax policies in the first place.

The researchers recruited 79 U.S. adults to participate in an about "people's views on in the United States." Participants in the rich-have-more condition were told that the top 5 percentile of wage earners make, on average, $111,000 more than the median wage earner (those in the 50th percentile). Participants in the poor-have-less condition were told that the median wage earner makes, on average, $111,000 less than the top 5 percentile. Participants in a control condition were not given any information about income inequality.

Next, the participants were asked to indicate their beliefs about why the rich are wealthy and why the poor are in poverty by completing a variety of internal- and external-attribution measures.

Participants then indicated their level of support for two redistributive tax policies: one that would create a new tax bracket for people with incomes over $1 million and one that would create a new tax bracket for people with incomes over $5 million.

Finally, participants indicated their level of political conservatism and reported their household income.

Conservatism was negatively associated with support for redistributive policies among participants in the control condition, confirming previous findings. This was also true for participants who were told that the poor make less than the rich. In these two groups, more conservative participants showed less support for redistributive tax policies.

But participants who were told that the rich make more than the poor didn't show a negative association between conservatism and policy support. These findings suggest that the rich-have-more frame may have reduced conservatives' opposition to raising taxes on the rich.

Further analyses revealed that the results could, at least in part, be explained by ' attributions for the success of the wealthy. Conservatives in the control and poor-have-less conditions were less likely to attribute the success of the wealthy to external sources. On the other hand, conservatives who were told that the rich make more than the poor were just as likely to attribute the success of the wealthy to external factors as they were to attribute it to internal factors.

These findings suggest, as the researchers hypothesized, that the rich-have-more frame makes conservatives more likely to question whether the wealthy are responsible for their own success.

Chow and Galak believe that this research has important implications for both researchers and policymakers.

"These findings suggest one simple approach that can influence how individuals think about and respond to income inequality: Change the language used to describe it."

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Caliban
3 / 5 (2) Nov 02, 2012

Excellent. A rare example of marketing research with findings that will benefit the downstreamers. The Oligarch class spends billions annually to make sure that the reverse is the end product.
ryggesogn2
1.5 / 5 (8) Nov 02, 2012
Maybe even 'liberals' can understand this:

http://blog.acton...old.html

Of course this envy is really based upon the stunted growth of the 'progressives'.
For thousands of years when humans lived in tribes and were hunter/gatherers, it was very difficult to create new wealth. The size of the pie was fixed. Then agriculture enabled wealth to be created, but govts were created to plunder that wealth.
Classical liberals like Adam Smith among many others understood the size of the pie can be expanded. 'Liberals' and 'progressives' are still stuck in the power hungry, primitive past with their culture of greed and envy.
ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2012
"The theory of increasing poverty among the masses stands at the center of Marxist thought as well as of older socialist doctrines. The accumulation of poverty parallels the accumulation of capital. It is the "antagonistic character of capitalist production" that "the accumulation of wealth at one pole" is simultaneously "accumulation of misery, work torture, slavery, ignorance, brutalization, and moral degeneracy at the other." This is the theory of the progressive increase in the absolute poverty of the masses. The Marxians still cling to the theory of increasing poverty purely on account of its propaganda value."

--Ludwig von Mises, Socialism

ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 02, 2012
"The law has been perverted through the influence of
two very different causes—naked greed and misconceived
philanthropy."
"But there is also another disposition which is common
to them. This is to live and to develop, when they can, at
the expense of one another."
"When, therefore, plunder is
organized by law, for the profit of those who perpetrate
it, all the plundered classes tend, either by peaceful or revolutionary
means, to enter in some way into the manufacturing
of laws. "
"See whether the law
performs, for the profit of one citizen, and, to the injury
of others, an act that this citizen cannot perform without
committing a crime. Abolish this law without delay; it is
not merely an iniquity—it is a fertile source of iniquities,
for it invites reprisals;"
The Law, Bastiat

The proper word to use for redistribution of wealth is PLUNDER.
PinkElephant
4.2 / 5 (5) Nov 02, 2012
The Marxians still cling to the theory of increasing poverty purely on account of its propaganda value.
I think if you examine the exponentially widening wealth and capital gap in U.S. over the last 3 decades, together with steadily falling living standards for the middle and lower classes, you'll discover that there's more to this that mere propaganda. Namely, there's reality behind those theories.
The proper word to use for redistribution of wealth is PLUNDER.
Indeed. A century or so ago, the enlightened bourgeoisie (granted, that enlightenment was dearly bought) understood that allowing for moderate rates of "PLUNDER" to make the life of the unwashed masses more tolerable, is better than letting things progress naturally until a violent revolution results in catastrophic mega-PLUNDER concomitant with mega-DEATH.

Of course, many these days have managed to forget the lessons of history, even while continuing to harp about the evil empires of the last century. Ironic...
Caliban
4 / 5 (4) Nov 02, 2012
riggsuckn',

You are the token poster child of RepCon Objects here at physorg.
Your comments never fail to illustrate the permanent, pathological state of denial, willful ignorance, logical inversion, moral and ethical bankruptcy and eagerness to consciously commit misrepresentation after distortion after lie in support of the lie that you live.

The only god you serve is Mammon.
The only Law you serve is Greed.
The only people you serve are your Masters.

ryggesogn2
2.1 / 5 (7) Nov 02, 2012
For all you socialists, if you take a good look, most of those getting wealthy are doing so with the assistance of a 'progressive' govt.
It's called 'crapitalism' and it cannot succeed without state support.
"Characters such as former Countrywide Financial CEO Angelo Mozilo, says Epstein, don't really operate in a true profit-and-loss system. Rather, they make money through primarily through political connections and gaming a system they help to rig in the first place."
http://reason.com...apitalis

Enron was another which tried to get govts to pass Kyoto so Enron could profit. So who has the power here, Enron or the govt? Could Enron print money? Could Enron pass laws to force competitors to help Enron profit?
Could Solyndra take taxpayers money without approval from the govt?
ONLY govt has the monopoly on force and the socialists want the power not to protect property but to plunder property.
Plunder is wrong even if legal.
Caliban
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
riggsuckn'

There are things in the world (besides your personal private property) that are worthwhile.

Unfortunately, you don't seem to understand this, much less care.

I can only imagine your despair when finally(and you WILL) discover what is truly of value, only to realise that it was what you never thought valuable enough to try and acquire.

So much for your RepCon LibertObjectivism, Swenson.

kochevnik
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
Enron was another which tried to get govts to pass Kyoto so Enron could profit. So who has the power here, Enron or the govt? Could Enron print money? Could Enron pass laws to force competitors to help Enron profit?
ONLY govt has the monopoly on force and the socialists want the power not to protect property but to plunder property.
So you're claiming now that Enron is a group of progressive socialists?
ryggesogn2
2.7 / 5 (7) Nov 03, 2012
There are things in the world (besides your personal private property) that are worthwhile.

Like what?
'Personal private property' includes YOUR right to life, your right to keep the products of your labor, your right to choose where you will work, your right to start a business.
What is more important than keeping any govt from enslaving individuals?
Socialism enslaves a minority dictating what they can do, what they can earn, where they can live, how much wealth they can earn.
What is more important than the individual's right to live the way he chooses, not how a mob wants him to live?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 03, 2012
""The Clinton administration's interest in an international agreement to combat global warming also dovetailed with Enron's business plans. Enron officials envisioned the company at the center of a new trading system, in which industries worldwide could buy and sell credits to emit carbon dioxide as part of a strategy to reduce greenhouse gases. Such a system would curtail the use of inefficient coal-fired power plants that emitted large amounts of carbon dioxide, while encouraging new investments in gas-fired plants and pipelines -- precisely Enron's line of business." "
So yes, Enron was a 'progressive' company trying to us govt power to advance their business.
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 03, 2012
" Bill Gates resisted the notion that a software company needed to hire a lot of lobbyists and lawyers. He didn't want anything special from the government, except the freedom to build and sell software. If the government would leave him alone, he would leave the government alone."
"Ultimately, there even was a feeling that, in refusing to play the Washington game, Microsoft was being downright unpatriotic. Look, buddy, there is an American way of doing things, and that American way includes hiring lobbyists, paying lawyers vast sums by the hour, throwing lavish parties for politicians, aides, journalists, and so on. So get with the program."
http://articles.l...20110405
So who had the power, govt or Microsoft?
ryggesogn2
2.3 / 5 (6) Nov 03, 2012
"To take from one, because it is thought his own industry and that of his fathers has acquired too much, in order to spare to others, who, or whose fathers, have not exercised equal industry and skill, is to violate arbitrarily the first principle of association, the guarantee to everyone the free exercise of his industry and the fruits acquired by it.

Thomas Jefferson, letter to Joseph Milligan, April 6, 1816"

Redistribution is THEFT.
It's interesting how socialists need to create 'newspeak' to sell their program. 'Progressives' were anything but progressive. When Hoover's 'progress' failed, FDR became a new 'liberal'. But they were all socialists. Whether it is fascism or socialism or communism, all require the use of state power to control private property and the individual.
kochevnik
3.4 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
Enron was another which tried to get govts to pass Kyoto so Enron could profit. So who has the power here, Enron or the govt? Could Enron print money? Could Enron pass laws to force competitors to help Enron profit?
ONLY govt has the monopoly on force and the socialists want the power not to protect property but to plunder property.
Ryggie why you never answered your claim that now Enron is a group of progressive socialists?

Redistribution is ECONOMICS.
ryggesogn2
2.6 / 5 (5) Nov 03, 2012
Enron was another which tried to get govts to pass Kyoto so Enron could profit. So who has the power here, Enron or the govt? Could Enron print money? Could Enron pass laws to force competitors to help Enron profit?
ONLY govt has the monopoly on force and the socialists want the power not to protect property but to plunder property.
Ryggie why you never answered your claim that now Enron is a group of progressive socialists?

Redistribution is ECONOMICS.

No, it's not.

'Redistribution' is at the end of a gun not voluntary exchange.

ANY company that desires to use govt force to advance their business IS socialist.
Which is why is it so amusing how socialists condemn other socialist 'businesses' like Enron or the major banks and financial institutions.
kochevnik
3 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2012
Without redistribution there is no economic activity, ryggie.
ANY company that desires to use govt force to advance their business IS socialist.
Which is why is it so amusing how socialists condemn other socialist 'businesses' like Enron or the major banks and financial institutions.
Since ALL corporations are sanctioned by governments, what economy do you propose without them? Somalia?
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2012
Without redistribution there is no economic activity, ryggie.

After the socialists have plundered everything, economic activity stops.
kochevnik
3.7 / 5 (3) Nov 03, 2012
Without redistribution there is no economic activity, ryggie.

After the socialists have plundered everything, economic activity stops.
Socialists? You mean, the corporations? You didn't answer my question. Who or what will replace the corporations in your libertarian utopia?
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2012
Without redistribution there is no economic activity, ryggie.

After the socialists have plundered everything, economic activity stops.
Socialists? You mean, the corporations? You didn't answer my question. Who or what will replace the corporations in your libertarian utopia?

Utopia is a socialist construct.
Why do corporations need to be replaced?
Rights are inherent in the individual. Individuals then decided to create a govt to PROTECT their property rights. A subset of those individuals may decide to pool their resources and create a corporation and make new laws to protect the assets of that corporation in the same way the govt protects the property of the individual.
Koch doesn't understand because he believes rights flow from the govt and individuals must bribe or grovel to the state for special favors. And corporation do the same when govts take control of those corporations with arbitrary regulations.
ryggesogn2
2 / 5 (4) Nov 03, 2012
koch, it's very easy to limit the influence of the corporations you so fear. But then YOU will have to give up your dreams of power and settle for a govt that protect your property and everyone's property equally. You don't get any special favor for being (fill in the blank) and neither does anyone else.
But then individuals will have the liberty to pursue opportunities and fail or spectacularly succeed. And that's what the 'progressive'/'liberal'/socialist cannot tolerate, the success of others. They prefer to live in squalor, and force others to do the same, than to allow anyone to innovate and earn spectacular wealth.

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