Abstract

How does population size affect social life? In accord with Durkheim's classic argument about the shift from the rigid "mechanical" solidarity of small societies to the more differentiated and interdependent "organic" solidarity of large societies, data from 30 nations and 19,568 respondents shows that the citizenry of large societies prefer more inequality in earnings than do citizens of small societies, net of the level of economic development. One reason for this is that citizens of large countries support larger rewards for education and occupational success. In most societies, the actual level of inequality is close to the ideal level, or a little higher. Data are from the World Inequality Study, which pools data from many excellent international survey projects; analysis is by OLS and multi-level regression.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1549-0955
Print ISSN
0032-471X
Pages
pp. 1-21
Launched on MUSE
2008-02-11
Open Access
No
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