AIAS Lunch Seminar 4 March - Sander Steijn

Country differences in the effects of rising inequality; A multi-level analysis of unwanted societal outcomes

Sander Steijn (AIAS)


In recent research, income inequality is often linked to a wide range of undesired outcomes such as higher crime rates, lower social trust, poorer health, lower democratic values, more hostility to homosexuality, and a number of other ills. Until now, this association has mostly been studied by examining aggregate outcomes. In this paper, we examine this argument from a cross-national multilevel perspective for four different outcomes – social trust, trust in institutional functioning, health and happiness – , by combining individual income data from the ISSP surveys with macro-level inequalities. The investigated outcomes are all related with individual income positions. Varying income inequality affects these outcomes in two ways: first by compositional variation and second by changing the (strength of the) relation between income positions and the social phenomena. Our results indicate that compositional variation is a contributant of negative effects of inequality on social and trust in institutional functioning, while it does not effect health and happiness. Varying effect sizes affect all four outcomes: with higher inequality the comparative advantage of having a higher income almost entirely disappears.

Day: Thursday 4 March 2010
Time: 12.15 – 13.15 hrs.
Location: AIAS, 3rd floor building M, Plantage Muidergracht 12
Register: Please send us an e-mail before 3 March, 12.00 hrs.
A sandwich will then be provided.

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