My Research

My research identifies the key role that organizations play in understanding economic inequality: they not only create and maintain economic inequality but are also uniquely susceptible to many of the negative consequences that arise when economic inequality approaches unproductive levels (e.g., higher health care costs, higher employee turnover, unhappier and less productive workers).

In particular, my research has (i) uncovered various psychological mechanisms (e.g., income mobility, attributions for poverty) that legitimize inequality, (ii) tested how, when, and what interventions (e.g., perspective taking, cross-class contact) can promote egalitarian behavior and mitigate the negative consequences of economic inequality.

You can see my full research statement here.

Peer Reviewed Publications


Piff. P. K*., & Wiwad, D.*, Robinson, A. R., Aknin, L. B., Mercier, B., & Shariff, A. F. (2020). Shifting attributions for poverty motivates opposition to inequality and enhances egalitarianism. Nature Human Behavior, 4, 496-505.

Data, Materials, and Code

Mercier, B., Wiwad, D., Aknin, L. B., Piff, P. K., & Shariff, A. F. (2020). Does belief in free will increase support for economic inequality? Collabra: Psychology, 6, 25.

Data, Materials, and Code


Wiwad, D., Mercier, B., Maraun, M. D., Robinson, A. R., Piff, P. K., Aknin, L. B., & Shariff, A. F. (2019). The support for economic inequality scale: Development and adjudication. PLoS ONE, 14, e0218685.

Data, Materials, and Code

Aknin, L. B., Wiwad, D., & Girme, Y. U. (2019). Not all gifts are good: The potential practical costs of motivated gifts. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 49, 75-85.

Data, Materials, and Code


Aknin, L. B., Wiwad, D., & Hanniball, K. (2018). Buying well-being: Spending behavior and happiness. Social and Personality Psychology Compass, 12, e12386.


Wiwad, D., Aknin, L. B. (2017). Motives matter: The emotional consequences of recalled self- and other focused prosocial behavior. Motivation and Emotion, 41, 730-740.

Data, Materials, and Code


Shariff, A. F., Wiwad, D., & Aknin, L. B. (2016). Income mobility breeds tolerance for economic inequality: Cross-national and experimental evidence. Perspectives on Psychological Science, 11, 373-380.