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The ‘Rich Idiot’ Effect

Mother Jones : “A new study in the journal Climatic Change has identified a [new]  phenomenon. Call it the ‘rich idiot’ effect: The study finds that among Republicans, as levels of income increase, so does their likelihood of ‘dismissing the dangers associated with climate change.’ But among Democrats and independents, there is little or no change in climate views as levels of income increase or decrease.”  

The study, by Jeremiah Bohr of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, “looked specifically at those individuals who chose the ‘not very dangerous’ or ‘not dangerous at all’ options. And he found that at the lowest income level, the probability that a Republican would give one of these dismissive answers was only 17.7 percent. But at the highest income level, it was 51.2 percent. Here’s a visualization of the chief finding, showing how the likelihood of a Republican giving one of these answers changes in relation to wealth:”  

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Probability of dismissing climate change risks in relation to political party affiliation and level of income J. Bohr, Climatic Change, July 2014

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