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Last place aversion

posted by Aaron Cohen   Aug 16, 2011

Researchers have found that lower income individuals become more opposed to programs designed to help them if people they perceive as below them will also be helped. I don’t have a comment on this except, COMEON!

Instead of opposing redistribution because people expect to make it to the top of the economic ladder, the authors of the new paper argue that people don’t like to be at the bottom. One paradoxical consequence of this “last-place aversion” is that some poor people may be vociferously opposed to the kinds of policies that would actually raise their own income a bit but that might also push those who are poorer than them into comparable or higher positions. The authors ran a series of experiments where students were randomly allotted sums of money, separated by $1, and informed about the “income distribution” that resulted. They were then given another $2, which they could give either to the person directly above or below them in the distribution.

The other side of this is Warren Buffett wanting the government to charge him higher taxes.

(Via @chrisfahey)

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