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Title: The Subjective Inequality Scale: A New Way to Measure Economic Inequality
Authors: Schmalor, Anita
Heine, Steven J.
Issue Date: 2019
Publisher: ZPID - Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information
Abstract: Economic inequality has become a major concern for the public and policy makers alike. Measures of objective inequality have been associated with many social and health ills, but a less investigated question is whether perceptions of inequality are associated with these same problems. Toward this end, we developed and validated the Subjective Inequality Scale (SIS): a measure of perceived inequality and judgments of the (un)fairness of inequality. We generated and reduced an initial set of items, conducted an exploratory factor analysis, evaluated convergent and divergent validity and individual differences in subjective inequality (Study 1). We further conducted a confirmatory factor analysis, showed that the SIS is associated with psychological well-being and this relation is mediated by status anxiety and low trust; and showed that perceived inequality is associated with the Gini coefficient across different US states and countries (Studies 2 and 3). We also replicated some of the key findings with an international sample of six countries (Study 3), and showed that perceptions of inequality can be influenced by manipulations of inequality (Studies 4a and 4b). The SIS can serve as a useful tool for unpacking the psychological correlates of perceived inequality.
Citation: Schmalor, A., & Heine, S. J. (2019). The Subjective Inequality Scale: A New Way to Measure Economic Inequality. ZPID - Leibniz Institute for Psychology Information.
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