International Review of Economics Education
This paper presents a way to enhance student interest and learning when teaching economic inequality. The approach draws on a well-known survey conducted by Norton and Ariely (2011). The approach involves surveying students, asking them to estimate the current level of wealth inequality in the US, and asking them to state their ideal level of wealth inequality. As in Norton and Ariely's survey of a representative sample of Americans, our students underestimated actual wealth inequality and preferred a distribution of wealth for the US that was more equal than any country's distribution. We suggest ways the student survey results can be presented and discussed. We also provide Stata code and an Excel workbook to ease effective classroom presentation of the survey results. This approach to beginning the study of inequality piqued our students' interest and helped them understand how inequality is measured.
Author Supplied Keywords
Economic education, Pedagogy, Wealth distribution, Inequality
Wealth; Education; Economics--Study and teaching
Citation: Pilot Scholars Version (Modified MLA Style)
Barnes, William; Easton, Todd E.; and Hanig, Ross Leupp, "Student preconceptions and reality: A survey exercise to teach wealth inequality" (2018). Business Faculty Publications and Presentations. 39.