What are the causes of global inequality? An exploration of global inequality attributions in Germany and Argentina


In two studies, we explored explanations for global inequality in samples from Germany (N = 152) and Argentina (N = 138) using a qualitative approach. We visualized global inequality non-verbally through distorted world maps such that no causal attributions were inherent to the stimulus material. The maps depicted absolute poverty, child mortality, number of deaths due to floodings and access to drinking water. After the presentation of the maps, participants were asked to give explanations for the situations shown. The answers were coded and categorized using content analysis. We identified seven categories which were identical in both samples. The categories extend existing frameworks for poverty attribution and allow for a more fine-grained differentiation of the attribution dimensions. Moreover, we found differences in the frequencies with which the respective categories were mentioned. The German sample attributed more responsibility to the Global North, while the Argentinean sample focused more strongly on responsibilities of the Global South. The article presents a comprehensive set of qualitative data which can help to deepen our understanding of Global North as well as Global South citizens’ global inequality attributions and serves as a basis for future quantitative studies in this realm.


DOI Code: 10.1285/i24212113v10i1p49

Keywords: attributions, global inequality, qualitative, poverty, cross-cultural


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