Income inequality, perceived competitiveness, and approach-avoidance motivation

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Serval ID
serval:BIB_D62C3693F842
Type
Article: article from journal or magazin.
Collection
Publications
Institution
Title
Income inequality, perceived competitiveness, and approach-avoidance motivation
Journal
Journal of Personality
Author(s)
Sommet Nicolas, Elliot Andrew J., Jamieson Jeremy P., Butera Fabrizio
ISSN
0022-3506
Publication state
Published
Issued date
08/2019
Peer-reviewed
Oui
Volume
87
Number
4
Pages
767-784
Language
english
Abstract
Objective
Scholars disagree on whether income inequality has incentive or disincentive effects. In the present research, we move beyond such debate and focus on the motivational processes that income inequality predicts. First, income inequality makes economic stratification salient, and therefore should promote perceived competitiveness. Second, competitiveness can be appraised as both a challenge and a threat, and therefore should promote both approach and avoidance motivation.
Method
In three studies (N = 2,543), U.S. residents from various ZIP codes reported the extent to which they perceived competitiveness in their town/city (Studies 1-3), as well as their economic achievement goals, achievement motives, and self-regulatory foci (Studies 2-3).
Results
Level of local income inequality was found to be a positive predictor—via increased perceived competitiveness—of other-approach economic goals, need for achievement, and promotion focus, as well as other-avoidance economic goals, fear of failure (specifically, the shame/embarrassment component), and prevention focus. Furthermore, actual and perceived income inequality were positively correlated.
Conclusion
The conceptual and empirical work herein is the first to show how the economic environment predicts individuals’ perceptions of competitiveness, influencing personal goals, motives, and orientations. It provides a more nuanced perspective on the implications of income inequality than perspectives currently available.
Keywords
Social Psychology
Pubmed
Web of science
Funding(s)
University of Lausanne
Create date
04/09/2018 17:19
Last modification date
05/11/2019 7:10
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