Impacts on Income Inequality on Satisfaction, Motivation, and Trust

Project: Research

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Income inequality in society is a key issue in Hong Kong that is of serious concern for social policy and research. The usual expectation is that income inequality breeds people’s dissatisfaction with life, demoralization about work, and distrust in government. This expectation, however, is not consistent with some views of social comparison theory that emphasizes the selection of a reference group with comparable income for comparison. Accordingly, people generally would not compare themselves with the very rich and they instead would choose similar others as a reference group. When the size of this comparable reference group is larger, people are likely to be more satisfied, motivated, and trustful. This alternative expectation witnesses support from the researchers' recent study. However, because their study has not completely illustrated the link from income inequality to satisfaction, motivation, and trust, this study would have much to contribute to the substantiation and elaboration of our recent findings. Essentially, the study is going to identify income inequality, income comparison with a reference group, and system justification as explicit factors. The latter two are crucial conditions that supposedly affect the impacts of income inequality on satisfaction, motivation, and trust, according to social comparison theory and system justification theory.


Project number7002405
Grant typeSRG
Effective start/end date1/04/097/04/11