Jour Fixe

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
2.00 pm - 4.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
WiSe 2023/24

Since the 1980s, living standards in Southeast Asia have improved markedly but unevenly and alsomore slowly and less equitably than could plausibly be achieved. While uneven capitalist development has permitted significant and at times impressive improvements in material conditions, the market-liberalising policy suites, weakly universalist social policies, and targeted legitimacy-seeking social protection programs promoted by ruling elites have failed to greatly accelerate improvements in human wellbeing, even as inequalities in income, assets, and the accessibility of quality social services have increased. Variegation in patterns of welfare and inequality in the region reflect differences in dynamic configurations of power, capital accumulation, and social reproduction specific to each country. The overall result is a region that exhibits weakly universalist social policies, the commodification and escalating costs of essential services, increased inequality, widespread precarity, and the persistence of eliminable human suffering even as average incomes, consumption, and living standards continue to rise.

Jonathan D. London is Associate Professor of Political Economy - Asia at Leiden University's Institute of Area Studies. London's research interests span the fields of comparative political economy, development studies, and the political economy of welfare and inequality. Fluent in Vietnamese, London is sole editor of the Routledge Handbook of Contemporary Vietnam (2023). His 2018 book, Welfare and Inequality in Marketizing East Asia developed a critique of theoretical literature on welfare regimes analysis and a comparative analysis of 10 East Asian countries.  He holds a PhD in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Place
Unicom-building
Room: 7.1020
Mary-Somerville-Straße 7
28359 Bremen
Time
noon - 2.00 pm
Organiser
Sonderforschungsbereich 1342 "Globale Entwicklungsdynamiken von Sozialpolitik", Universität Bremen
Contact Person
Lecture Series
Jour Fixe
Semester
SoSe 2024

Abstract: Accurately measuring public perceptions of economic phenomena is complicated, but doing so is important for responsive policy-making. Survey measurement difficulties are particularly pronounced when it comes to economic inequality, which is an abstract and mathematically demanding concept, but perceptions of which have the potential to directly affect the desirability of redistributive policies. In this paper, we compare different ways to ask questions about perceived inequality, characterizing the costs and benefits of different approaches. In particular, we ask whether relatively complicated survey items result in high rates of “satisficing” and/or high rates of non-response, with consequences for survey quality. In a survey fielded to representative samples in Switzerland, Germany, and France, we ask respondents about income inequality in two different ways. First, respondents estimate household incomes at specified percentiles of the income distribution. Later in the survey, they estimate the incomes that qualify a household as rich or poor, respectively. We anticipate that because the percentile questions are relatively abstract, respondents may rely on their prototypes of the rich and the poor when answering, leading to similar answers to the two sets of questions. We also anticipate that because the percentile questions are more mathematically involved, we may see systematic non-response patterns. The results show that in all three countries, the 90th percentile, the 99th percentile, and the rich are seen as significantly different from each other in terms of household income. At the same time, we find significant rates of non-response and uninformative responses in the percentile questions (but not the questions about the rich/poor). We conclude that even apparently low levels of mathematical complexity in question wording can lead to non-response patterns that affect the representativeness of survey samples.

Kris-Stella Trump is a political scientist at Johns Hopkins University. A scholar of public opinion and political psychology, she primarily studies perceptions of deservingness, attitudes toward income inequality, and the politics of distribution. Her regional focus lies in the United States and Western Europe. Kris-Stella joined Johns Hopkins from the University of Memphis, and prior to that, she served as program director at the Social Science Research Council. She holds a Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University. She is Estonian by origin, and also lived in Sweden and the United Kingdom before moving to the United States. You can find out more at: https://www.kstrump.com