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Redistribution and the cultural transmission of the taste for fairness

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Departing from mainstream economics, surveys ?rst show that individ- uals do care about fairness in their demand for redistribution. They also show that the cultural environment in which individuals grow up a¤ects their preferences about redistribution. Including these two components of the demand for redistribution, we propose in this article a mechanism of cultural transmission of the taste for fairness. Consistently with the process of socialization, the young preferences depend on collective choices through observation and imitation. Observation during childhood of redistributive policies far from what is perceived as fair results then in a lower taste for fairness. As a consequence, the model exhibits a multiplicity of history- dependent steady states which may account for the huge di¤erence of redis- tribution observed between Europe and the United States.

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Paper provided by Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE) in its series Documents de Travail de l'OFCE with number 2011-24.

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Date of creation: Dec 2011
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Handle: RePEc:fce:doctra:1124

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Keywords: redistribution; voting behavior; fairness; endogenous preferences;

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