Rising inequality and pro-affluent housing policy have led affluent Americans to become increasingly isolated into neighborhoods that only they are able to afford. I use an under-utilized and unusually large dataset to measure the effects of this isolation on affluent Americans’ perception of social conditions, including crime, healthcare accessibility, joblessness, and public school quality. I find that the affluent form perceptions of such social conditions by extrapolating from the conditions that exist in their own neighborhoods. When these neighborhoods are predominately affluent, offering little hint of the problems faced by the lower classes, the affluent take on perceptions of social conditions that are significantly more positive than the perceptions of everyone else in society. By leading politically and economically powerful affluent Americans to develop the false sense that others’ lives are as problem-free as their own, class isolation may imperil the prospects for improving social conditions in the United States.
Political Behavior – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 2, 2016
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