New Data Shows Americans Still Believe the Biggest Myth About Inequality

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tags: inequality



Of the 44 countries surveyed, only Nicaragua, at 31%, had more respondents cite laziness as the primary obstacle holding back the lower classes. Among "advanced economies," only the British matched the U.S. at 24%. The median for those 10 nations — France, Germany, and Japan among them — was less than half that number, 11%.

Many Americans continue to believe, against evidence and reason, that earnings are tied to effort. Recent research like a National Bureau of Economic Research study referenced in the Wall Street Journal, found that "higher-educated (and therefore higher earning) Americans do indeed spend more time working and less time on leisure than poorer income groups. In fact, while income inequality may be growing, 'leisure inequality' — time spent on enjoyment — is growing as a mirror image, with the low earners gaining leisure and the high earners losing." (Emphasis ours.)

Absent from the study is any firm explanation about why the "low earners" have all these free hours, though the authors do allow that the unemployed and underemployed — that is, people who have wage-paying jobs but aren't offered as many hours as they'd like — might not actually be enjoying their "leisure time." 




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