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Has the attitude of US citizens towards redistribution changed over time?

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  • M. Grazia Pittau

    ()
    (Sapienza Universita' di Roma)

  • Roberto Zelli

    ()
    (Sapienza Universita' di Roma)

Abstract

Demand for redistribution has been traditionally investigated within a static scenario, giving the perception of a stationary association between individual determinants and preferences. Using repeated cross-sectional survey data from the General Social Survey over the period 1978{2010, we model individual preferences in the U.S. within a chronological perspective. We t a a logistic non-nested multilevel model with three di erent levels of variation: individuals, time and cohort. Despite an overall stable trend in demand for redistribution, we nd that driving factors in shaping redistributive preferences have changed rapidly. Personal income is always a strong predictor, with the poor-rich gap increasing over time. Large changes have characterized the e ects of education, ethnic bonds and self-declared party identi cation. Over time, highly educated people have increased their probability to be in favor of redistribution while the less educated have become less prone. Ethnicity mattered more in the 1970s than in the 2000s. In the 2000s it is party aliation that shapes preferences rather than ethnic bonds: white and black democrats have similar feelings toward redistribution and so do white and black republicans.

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File URL: http://www.dss.uniroma1.it/RePec/sas/wpaper/20133_pittau_zelli.pdf
File Function: First version, 2013
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Paper provided by Centre for Empirical Economics and Econometrics, Department of Statistics, "Sapienza" University of Rome in its series DSS Empirical Economics and Econometrics Working Papers Series with number 2013/3.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sas:wpaper:20133

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Keywords: Individual preferences; demand for redistribution; multilevel models; time-varying slopes models; weakly informative priors.;

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  1. Angus Deaton & Christina Paxson, 1993. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," NBER Working Papers 4328, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1993. "A Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," NBER Working Papers 4454, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  3. Roland Bénabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility And The Demand For Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487, May.
  4. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746, May.
  5. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Working Papers 9902, Harris School of Public Policy Studies, University of Chicago.
  6. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," International Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1936, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  8. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  9. Maria Grazia Pittau & Riccardo Massari & Roberto Zelli, 2013. "Hierarchical Modelling of Disparities in Preferences for Redistribution," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 556-584, 08.
  10. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  11. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Thomas Cusack & Torben Iversen & Philipp Rehm, 2006. "Risks at Work: The Demand and Supply Sides of Government Redistribution," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 365-389, Autumn.
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