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Despite claims that we exist in an “Age of Acquiescence” (Fraser, 2015) to historically high levels of inequality, Americans across wage, gender, and political leaning all desire a more equal distribution of wealth (Norton & Ariely, 2011). However, this apparent consensus doesn’t necessarily translate into support for redistribution, at least in terms of greater taxation. Rather, according to recent findings by Northwestern University Professor Leslie McCall, Americans prefer instead to address wealth inequality through the expansion of opportunity (McCall, 2011). It may be that as individual perceptions of autonomy and the availability of opportunity increases, support for traditional redistribution decreases, since life outcomes are attributed to individual effort and responsibility as opposed to an un-level playing field (Naito, 2007). In addition, differences in individual moral priorities place certain morals intuitions above others, with liberals placing a greater emphasis on fairness and reciprocity than conservatives, potentially explaining their greater likely hood to support traditional redistribution in addition to opportunity expansion (Graham et al, 2011). This survey attempts to bring these variables into consideration and determine whether and to what degree self-selected measures of autonomy and moral intuition correlate with support for redistribution, whether traditionally conceived or through opportunity expansion.



Thesis Comittee

Colby R. King (Thesis Director)

Kim MacInnis

Walter F. Carroll

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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.

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