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HSE Seminar on Political Economy: Eugenia Chernina (HSE) about actual and perceived place in the income distribution

Eugenia Chernina (HSE) explored how far individuals’ perceptions deviate from the true level of inequality and what factors shape the divergence.

Topic: Do we know how relatively rich are we? Actual and perceived place in the income distribution

co-author Vladimir Gimpelson (HSE)

Abstract:

The issue of inequality is hotly debated among academics as well as in society as a whole. One of the reasons for this attention is in the tentative influence that inequality can have on various dimensions of economic, political and social life. This hypothesis assumes implicitly that individuals have more or less correct understanding of actual variation in wealth and income in their countries and know their relative place in the distribution. However, a number of studies (e.g. Gimpelson and Treisman, 2018) show that population may misperceive the true level of inequality, and it is the perception of inequality, and not its true values, that affects behavior. Thus, the question arises how far individuals’ perceptions deviate from the true level of inequality and what factors shape the divergence. This study tries to answer these questions using the 2016 wave of the Russian Longitudinal Monitoring Survey of the Higher School of Economics. To analyze the discrepancy between subjective and objective inequality, we look at the gap between the subjective and objective positions of respondents in the welfare distribution. Further, using a wide range of individual, family and regional characteristics, we explore the discrepancy.

the joint seminar of Higher School of Economics on political economy, International Center for the Study of Institutions and Development (ICSID) and NES Center for the Study of Diversity and Social Interaction (NES CSDSI) was held on March 05.

Moderators: Alexei Zakharov (HSE), Konstantin Sonin (HSE, The University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy)