Russell Sage Foundation: The 1% are Different

May 30th, 2014
in econ_news, syndication

Not Only Do The 1% Have More Money, They Think Differently Too

Econintersect:  The  Russell Sage Foundation (RSF) sponsored a survey of wealthy Americans which was conducted by three political science and social science professors, two from Northwestern University and one from Vanderbilt University, in the first half of 2011.  After the results were published in March 2013, RSF compared the opinions of the 1% to those of the general population using combined results from polls by organizations such as the Pew Foundation and Gallup.  The comparisons of opinions between the 1% sample and the total population produced dramatic differences.


Follow up:

The poll of the wealthy came from a very limited sample:  there were 83 people interviewed,  all from the Chicago area.  The paper states that the average income for all respondents was just over $1 million while "[a]bout one third of them (32.4 percent) reported incomes of $1,000,000 or more".  However the wealth distribution table shows the lowest wealth group possibly included persons with zero wealth.  Econintersect assumes that there were no individuals in the wealthy sample who were destitute.


The authors address the issue of the lack of geographic diversity in there sampling:


Of course, this restrictive sampling does raise question about just how representative the sample is of the entire country.  The authors do not give any uncertainty band estimates; Econintersect thinks trying to do so in any meaningful way would be problematic.

Click on the page below to read the paper published in Perspectives and Politics:


The results for the survey of the wealthy was compared to the averages for a number of national polls of the entire population.  In many cases the results indicate that if the 1% say "up" the total population says "down".  Following are some of the tables from report (by Derek Pugh) comparing the 1% survey to the average responses for the entire population.


Click on the page below to read the Derek Pugh report:


John Lounsbury


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