When the American Dream Fails: The Effect of Perceived Economic Inequality on Present-oriented Behavior
Hyuna Bak, Youjae Yi
Psychology & Marketing
Economic inequality is worsening worldwide and is associated with various social problems. Although research on inequality has been conducted in various academic fields, research on how perceived inequality affects individual decision making is relatively limited in the marketing field. Recognizing this gap, this study examines how perceived economic inequality can affect individual behavior and decision making from the perspective of time frame. The results of four studies reveal that perceived economic inequality can induce present‐oriented behavior and suggest that perceived economic mobility accounts for this relationship. This study demonstrates that present‐oriented and shortsighted behaviors, which are usually considered characteristics of the poor, can occur due to the perceptions of the environment beyond class. It implies that the macro level of economic inequality can influence an individual's decision making at the micro level.