scatterbleg: income and altruistic wishes

My wife is working on a project that demonstrates, among other things, that lower-income adolescents report “wishes” on a survey that are more for themselves, such as housing, cars, etc., where higher-income adolescents report more wishes that are altruistic for the world, e.g., the end of global warming or poverty. She is looking for sociological references to back up this (unsurprising) finding and/or to document mechanisms for it. Any thoughts?


Author: andrewperrin

University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill

3 thoughts on “scatterbleg: income and altruistic wishes”

  1. This is only somewhat related to your query, but what the hell.

    This is a passage from Ann Mullen’s Degrees of Inequality (pp 201-202), and she is talking about the different choices in majors between lower-middle and upper-middle-class kids.

    “In Bourdieu’s (1984) view, the ‘distance from necessity’ also helps explain class-based patterns in the choice of major. Those with few economic or cultural resources must direct a large part of their energies toward the practicalities of making a living. The dominant class’s freedom from material constraints allows it to develop tastes for the impractical, such as gourmet food and abstract art. This distance from necessity aligns with fields of study, providing privileged groups with the freedom to pursue abstractions having little practical application, such as theoretical knowledge. Put another way, the most privileged have the luxury of choosing liberal arts fields, whereas the least privileged face the necessity of studying something more practical.”


  2. If I recall correctly, Inglehart argued that economic development is associated with the rise of post-materialist values like environmentalism. He was looking at differences across countries and over time rather than between individuals within a country.


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