How should wealth be distributed in society?

We are Nils and Christopher, two PhD-students who are personally and academically interested in wealth inequality. Nils graduated in Social Psychology and works at the Free University of Amsterdam on topics relating to the social and moral psychology of corruption. Christopher works at the Institute of Communication Research in Münster. His research focuses on political communication and European solidarity.

In the Concept of Society tasks a few months ago, we asked Roamlers in different countries to imagine that the entire wealth (everything of monetary value) in your society is like a big cake. In the first part we asked you how you think this cake is currently split (in five pieces) in your society.

We find that people from all countries underestimate the inequality in the society!
Independent on whether the responses came all the way from Chile or from Germany, you think that the wealth is split more evenly than it actually is.

EqualdistributionThen we gave Roamlers a huge imaginary knife and let you distribute the wealth-cake in the way you would consider ideal. The interesting twist was, that you don’t know where you would end up in this society – How would you distribute wealth in a society if you don’t know whether you would be ‘eating from the biggest piece or from the smallest’? This method is called ’veil of ignorance’.

So what does the ideal society look like according to Roamlers? Is it like the example shown in the task? In the graph on the right wealth is distributed equally; each of the 5 groups has a fifth of the wealth.

People across the different countries agree to a large extent about their ideal distribution. 


There are of course some differences: Roamlers in Germany, Sweden, Italy and Chile want redistribute wealth, whereas UK and French Roamlers want to keep the existing wealth hierarchy, although reduce the differences drastically. Some interesting stuff…

Oh yeah, judging from the answers you seemed to have enjoyed the task as well 🙂 For example, this is what a Roamler from UK answered to the question on whether you liked the task: “Yes. I’d love to get involved in more like this. It’s important researchers have many avenues to different participant groups.”

Because of this enthusiasm, Nils, Christopher and the Roamler team decided to have another task ready for you, starting today. Check out the app and participate in this research. Nils and Christopher are interested in your answers!


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