Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226691879 Will Publish June 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226691732 Will Publish June 2020
An e-book edition will be published.

The Economic Other

Inequality in the American Political Imagination

Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky

The Economic Other

Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky

240 pages | 26 line drawings, 15 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2020
Paper $30.00 ISBN: 9780226691879 Will Publish June 2020
Cloth $90.00 ISBN: 9780226691732 Will Publish June 2020
E-book $30.00 ISBN: 9780226691909 Will Publish June 2020
Economic inequality is at a record high in the United States, but public demand for redistribution is not rising with it. Meghan Condon and Amber Wichowsky show that this paradox and other mysteries about class and US politics can be solved through a focus on social comparison. Powerful currents compete to propel attention up or down—toward the rich or the poor—pulling politics along in the wake.

Through an astute blend of experiments, surveys, and descriptions people offer in their own words, The Economic Other reveals that when less-advantaged Americans compare with the rich, they become more accurate about their own status and want more from government. But American society is structured to prevent upward comparison. In an increasingly divided, anxious nation, opportunities to interact with the country’s richest are shrinking, and people prefer to compare to those below to feel secure. Even when comparison with the rich does occur, many lose confidence in their power to effect change. 

Laying bare how social comparisons drive political attitudes, The Economic Other is an essential look at the stubborn plight of inequality and the measures needed to solve it.
1: The Politics of Social Comparison

Part I: Imagining the Economic Other

2: Inequality in the Social Mind
3: Revealing the Social Mind
4: The Disadvantaged Other
5: The Advantaged Other

Part II: Responding to the Economic Other

6: Social Comparison and Status Perceptions
7: Social Comparison and Support for Redistribution

Part III: Insulated from Inequality

8: Why Americans Don’t Look Up
9: Why Americans Would Rather Look Down
10: How Looking Up Keeps Us Down
11: The Power of Social Comparison
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