What are the psychological effect of residing in a place with high economic inequality? This SNSF Ambizione project uses cross-sectional, longitudinal, and experimental data to examine the effects of exposure to economic inequality on various outcomes, such as subjective well-being, health, and trust. The findings indicate that economic inequality breeds an ethos of competitiveness. The data reveals that economic inequality does not directly predict subjective well-being; rather, it exerts opposing effects on well-being through avoidance motivation (focusing on the potential risk of failing in the economic competition) and approach motivation (focusing on the prospect of succeeding in the economic competition). The competitiveness induced by economic inequality represents an aversive threat to those who perceive they do not have sufficient individual/contextual resources to cope with the demands of competition but an appetitive challenge to those with sufficient resources.
This work is funded by a SNSF Ambizione fellowship granted to N. Sommet (#PZ00P1_185979)