Monday, February 3, 2014

UCB Colloquium, Today 2:00-3:30 PM Barrows 402

The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution
Based on survey evidence and media coverage dating back to the 1980s, McCall argues in her new book that Americans have long been more critical of economic inequality than is commonly recognized, and that critical views are heightened when inequality is perceived as benefiting the rich at the expense of shared prosperity for most Americans. As a result, concerns about inequality are more likely to be expressed in support of opportunity enhancing policies in education and the labor market rather than in support of traditional redistributive policies. The "opportunity model" advanced in the book incorporates views about inequality as well as views about opportunity and redistribution, and raises questions about the "welfare state model" that nearly all research on American beliefs about inequality assumes. In the talk, McCall will also briefly discuss new collaborative projects that seek to test this model using survey experiments and cross-national, representative surveys. 

Leslie McCall is Professor of Sociology and Political Science, and Faculty Fellow at the Institute for Policy Research, Northwestern University. She studies public opinion about inequality and related economic and policy issues as well as trends in actual earnings and family income inequality. She is the author of The Undeserving Rich: American Beliefs about Inequality, Opportunity, and Redistribution (2013) and Complex Inequality: Gender, Class, and Race in the New Economy (2001). Her research has also been published in a wide range of journals and edited volumes and supported by the National Science Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, Demos: A Network of Ideas and Action, and the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University.

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