We argue that sociological analyses of inequality could benefit from engaging the literatures on decision-making. In turn, a sociological focus on how contexts and structural constraints influence the outcomes of decisions and the strategies social groups can use in pursuit of their goals could inform our understanding of decision-making. We consider a simple two-class model of income and the need of capitalists and workers to mobilize resources to influence the adaptive landscape that shapes responses to decisions. We then examine the implications of the rational actor model and the heuristics and biases literature for class-based decision-making. We consider the importance of altruism in mobilizing collective action, and we offer some evidence that altruism is most common in the middle ranges of income and that altruism is a major influence on support for redistributive policies. These results, while tentative, suggest the value of having scholars of development and inequality engage with the literatures on decision-making.
Skip Nav Destination
Research Article| September 01 2018
Inequality, Decisions, and Altruism
Sociology of Development (2018) 4 (3): 282–303.
- Views Icon Views
- Share Icon Share
- Search Site
Thomas Dietz, Cameron T. Whitley; Inequality, Decisions, and Altruism. Sociology of Development 1 September 2018; 4 (3): 282–303. doi: https://doi.org/10.1525/sod.2018.4.3.282
Download citation file: