2016/2017 QMeHSS Workshop (11/18/2016)

The November 18th, 2016 Workshop on Quantitative Methods in Education, Health, and the Social Sciences (QMeHSS) will take place from 10:30am - 12:00pm in NORC Conference room 344. Elizabeth Maggie Penn from the University of Chicago University will be leading this workshop. We hope to see you there. NORC is located at 1155 E. 60th Street.

Inequality, Social Context, and Value Divergence

Elizabeth Maggie Penn

Professor of Political Science and the College, University of Chicago


I present a model in which people develop certain skills (or traits) and also assign worth to those skills. The worth a person assigns to different skills are the person’s values. These values can be used to evaluate one’s own skills and the skills of others. I show that when people are incentivized to place more value on skills for which they are comparatively advantaged, people with lower opportunities for success may be led to adopt more extreme values, to perform below their own capabilities, and to perpetually experience cognitive dissonance by developing skills that are inconsistent with their own values. Attempts to induce low-status individuals to invest in certain skills by increasing the marginal productivity of those skills can backfire, leading to increased inequality.