- What we want and what we see: Preferences, perceptions and judgments about inequality and meritocracy
- Award date
- 11 November 2016
- Number of pages
- Document type
- PhD thesis
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Based on the conviction that it is important to carefully assess the social legitimacy of existing inequalities, this dissertation contributes to our understanding of how people think about inequality. Specific attention is paid to the concept of meritocracy, understood as the ideal of rewarding people on the basis of their own merits. Meritocracy is often put forward as a normative legitimation of existing inequalities. This dissertation studies how the meritocratic ideal is reflected in how people think about inequality. It consists of four empirical chapters, which are binded by the convinction that research on public opinion about inequalities needs to actively distinguish between preferences that people have about the distribution of inequalities, the perceptions that people have about the actual distribution of inequalities and finally the judgments that results from the comparison between the preferred and the perceived distribution of inequalities.
The first two empirical chapters of the dissertation concern the development and operationalization of a new, original conceptualization of attitudes about inequality, focused on the comparison between (non-) meritocratic preferences and perceptions. This new conceptualization is examined empirically with newly collected Dutch survey data. The second part of the dissertation (also consisting of two empirical chapters) examines perceptions of inequality and meritocracy from a country-comparative perspective.
- Research conducted at: Universiteit van Amsterdam
Thesis (complete) (Embargo up to and including 11 November 2018)
Chapter 2: Problematic inequality? Preferences, perceptions and judgments about (non-)meritocratic rewards in the Netherlands (Embargo up to and including 11 November 2018)
Chapter 3: Judgments about meritocratic rewards and demands for redistribution (Embargo up to and including 11 November 2018)
Chapter 4: Failing meritocracy? Inequality and corruption perceptions (Embargo up to and including 11 November 2018)
Chapter 5: Perceived inequality and generalized trust (Embargo up to and including 11 November 2018)
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