Inequality is one of the best predictors of conflict ever found. Except when it isn’t.
Consider homicide in the United States. In 1990 and again in 2010, there was an impressive correlation between income inequality and the homicide rate. Among the states where inequality was high, so was homicide; and where inequality was low, homicide was too. But over those same 20 years, inequality grew while homicides fell — the opposite of what you would expect.
Call it the inequality paradox: The effect of inequality on conflict depends profoundly on the way it’s measured.
With the help of a colleague, I tested this idea in an experiment just published in the journal Psychological Science. In it, more than 1,200 participants competed in an economic game, and the winners were paid in real money.
Read the whole story: The Conversation