2011 Student Research Conference:
24th Annual Student Research Conference

The Effects of Inequality on Social Tolerance
Christopher T. Willcox
Dr. Candy Young, Faculty Mentor

Pluralistic societies require tolerance in order to guarantee the civil and political rights of groups within that society. This is especially true in democracies, where policy relies more on public support than in non-democracies. As such, tolerance is a key component to democracys ability to advance the cause of human and civil rights worldwide. Of the factors contributing to tolerance, economic development and civil society have received the most attention. Recent literature suggests that economic inequality can alter or even reverse the positive effects of development on tolerance. The theory proposed in this study is that high levels of inequality undermine generalized social trust and reduce tolerance overall within a society. This study examines the effects of inequality on tolerance of race and homosexuality in a selection of industrialized democracies. This is done by performing multivariate regression between aggregate economic variables and mean responses to the World Values Survey.

Keywords: Inequality, Tolerance, Democracy, Social Trust , Civil Society, Economic Policy

Topic(s):Political Science

Presentation Type: Oral Paper

Session: 11-1
Location: MG 1000
Time: 8:00

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