This week's speaker is Leslie McCall, a professor in NU's Sociology department and a faculty fellow in the Institute for Policy Research.
The Opportunity Model of American Beliefs about Inequality: Evidence from Survey Research and Prospects for Experimental Inquiry
Abstract: Based on evidence from survey research, McCall argues in a forthcoming book that Americans are more critical of economic inequality than is commonly recognized, and that critical views are based on the perception that inequality restricts economic opportunity. As a result, concerns about inequality are more likely to be expressed in support for opportunity enhancing policies rather than 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 most research on American beliefs about inequality assumes. In the talk, McCall will also discuss a new research project (joint with Jennifer Richeson) that seeks to test this model with experimental data. Experiments will manipulate how inequality is defined (e.g., as dominant group advantage or subordinate group disadvantage), its impact on economic opportunity, and its "changeability," and then assess the effects for preferences regarding inequality, opportunity, and redistribution.