What Makes for a Zero-sum Mindset?

10 Dec 2023 • 23 min • EN
23 min
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Zero-sum thinking - the belief that gains for some necessarily come at the expense of others - can shape support for economic redistribution, race- and gender-based affirmative action, and immigration policies. Drawing on new survey data, Stefanie Stantcheva joins EconoFact Chats to discuss her research on what determines whether people view the world as zero sum. Her analysis demonstrates that viewing the world in zero-sum terms is not a left vs. right issue. Rather factors such as people’s ancestry, where they live, with whom they interact, and their generation influence their views on this point – and, through this, their views on a range of economic and social policies. Stefanie is the Nathaniel Ropes Professor of Political Economy at Harvard, and the founder of the Social Economics Lab.

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