IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/a/aea/aecrev/v105y2015i4p1478-1508.html
   My bibliography  Save this article

How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments

Author

Listed:
  • Ilyana Kuziemko
  • Michael I. Norton
  • Emmanuel Saez
  • Stefanie Stantcheva

Abstract

We analyze randomized online survey experiments providing interactive, customized information on US income inequality, the link between top income tax rates and economic growth, and the estate tax. The treatment has large effects on views about inequality but only slightly moves tax and transfer policy preferences. An exception is the estate tax—informing respondents of the small share of decedents who pay it doubles support for it. The small effects for all other policies can be partially explained by respondents' low trust in government and a disconnect between concerns about social issues and the public policies meant to address them. (JEL D31, D72, H23, H24)

Suggested Citation

  • Ilyana Kuziemko & Michael I. Norton & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2015. "How Elastic Are Preferences for Redistribution? Evidence from Randomized Survey Experiments," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 105(4), pages 1478-1508, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:4:p:1478-1508
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/aer.20130360
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/aer.20130360
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/ds/10504/20130360_ds.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/data/10504/20130360_data.zip
    Download Restriction: no

    File URL: https://www.aeaweb.org/aer/app/10504/20130360_app.pdf
    Download Restriction: Access to full text is restricted to AEA members and institutional subscribers.
    ---><---

    Other versions of this item:

    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. John Horton & David Rand & Richard Zeckhauser, 2011. "The online laboratory: conducting experiments in a real labor market," Experimental Economics, Springer;Economic Science Association, vol. 14(3), pages 399-425, September.
    2. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
    3. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    4. Raj Chetty & Emmanuel Saez, 2013. "Teaching the Tax Code: Earnings Responses to an Experiment with EITC Recipients," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 5(1), pages 1-31, January.
    5. Margalit, Yotam, 2013. "Explaining Social Policy Preferences: Evidence from the Great Recession," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 107(1), pages 80-103, February.
    6. Thomas Piketty & Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2014. "Optimal Taxation of Top Labor Incomes: A Tale of Three Elasticities," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 6(1), pages 230-271, February.
    7. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    8. Elvire Guillaud, 2013. "Preferences for redistribution: an empirical analysis over 33 countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 11(1), pages 57-78, March.
    9. Jeffrey B. Liebman & Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2015. "Would People Behave Differently If They Better Understood Social Security? Evidence from a Field Experiment," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 275-299, February.
    10. Naoi, Megumi & Kume, Ikuo, 2011. "Explaining Mass Support for Agricultural Protectionism: Evidence from a Survey Experiment During the Global Recession," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 65(4), pages 771-795, October.
    11. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    12. Slemrod, Joel, 2006. "The Role of Misconceptions in Support for Regressive Tax Reform," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association;National Tax Journal, vol. 59(1), pages 57-75, March.
    13. Richard Bernardi, 2006. "Associations between Hofstede’s Cultural Constructs and Social Desirability Response Bias," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 65(1), pages 43-53, April.
    14. Ofra Amir & David G Rand & Ya'akov Kobi Gal, 2012. "Economic Games on the Internet: The Effect of $1 Stakes," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 7(2), pages 1-4, February.
    15. Derek Dalton & Marc Ortegren, 2011. "Gender Differences in Ethics Research: The Importance of Controlling for the Social Desirability Response Bias," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 103(1), pages 73-93, September.
    16. Emmanuel Saez & Stefanie Stantcheva, 2016. "Generalized Social Marginal Welfare Weights for Optimal Tax Theory," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 106(1), pages 24-45, January.
    17. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    18. Leslie McCall & Lane Kenworthy, 2007. "Inequality, Public Opinion, and Redistribution," LIS Working papers 459, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    19. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2005. "Fairness and Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 960-980, September.
    20. Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-179, February.
    21. Loef, J. & Antonides, G. & van Raaij, W.F., 2001. "The Effectiveness of Advertising Matching Purchase Motivation," ERIM Report Series Research in Management ERS-2001-65-MKT, Erasmus Research Institute of Management (ERIM), ERIM is the joint research institute of the Rotterdam School of Management, Erasmus University and the Erasmus School of Economics (ESE) at Erasmus University Rotterdam.
    22. Claudia Senik, 2009. "Income Distribution and Subjective Happiness: A Survey," OECD Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers 96, OECD Publishing.
    23. Fujii, Edwin T & Hawley, Clifford B, 1988. "On the Accuracy of Tax Perceptions," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 70(2), pages 344-347, May.
    24. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    25. Luskin, Robert C. & Fishkin, James S. & Jowell, Roger, 2002. "Considered Opinions: Deliberative Polling in Britain," British Journal of Political Science, Cambridge University Press, vol. 32(3), pages 455-487, July.
    26. Saez, Emmanuel & Zucman, Gabriel, 2014. "Wealth Inequality in the United States since 1913: Evidence from Capitalized Income Tax Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 10227, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    27. Gerber, Alan S. & Gimpel, James G. & Green, Donald P. & Shaw, Daron R., 2011. "How Large and Long-lasting Are the Persuasive Effects of Televised Campaign Ads? Results from a Randomized Field Experiment," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 105(1), pages 135-150, February.
    28. Gaines, Brian J. & Kuklinski, James H. & Quirk, Paul J., 2007. "The Logic of the Survey Experiment Reexamined," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 15(1), pages 1-20, January.
    29. Weinzierl, Matthew, 2014. "The promise of positive optimal taxation: normative diversity and a role for equal sacrifice," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 118(C), pages 128-142.
    30. Eva Mueller, 1963. "Public Attitudes Toward Fiscal Programs," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, President and Fellows of Harvard College, vol. 77(2), pages 210-235.
    31. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-927, October.
    32. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    33. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
    34. James N. Druckman & Kjersten R. Nelson, 2003. "Framing and Deliberation: How Citizens' Conversations Limit Elite Influence," American Journal of Political Science, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 47(4), pages 729-745, October.
    35. David G. Rand & Martin A. Nowak, 2011. "The evolution of antisocial punishment in optional public goods games," Nature Communications, Nature, vol. 2(1), pages 1-7, September.
    36. Alesina, Alberto & Giuliano, Paola, 2009. "Preferences for Redistribution," IZA Discussion Papers 4056, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    37. repec:cup:judgdm:v:5:y:2010:i:5:p:411-419 is not listed on IDEAS
    38. Paola Sapienza & Luigi Zingales, 2013. "Economic Experts versus Average Americans," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(3), pages 636-642, May.
    39. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Trust in government and its effect on preferences for income redistribution and perceived tax burden," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 71-100, February.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Most related items

    These are the items that most often cite the same works as this one and are cited by the same works as this one.
    1. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
    2. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for redistribution around the world," Discussion Papers 2012/2, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    3. Javier Olivera, 2015. "Preferences for redistribution in Europe," IZA Journal of European Labor Studies, Springer;Forschungsinstitut zur Zukunft der Arbeit GmbH (IZA), vol. 4(1), pages 1-18, December.
    4. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for Redistribution around the World," Working Papers 26/2012, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
    5. Corneo, Giacomo & Neher, Frank, 2015. "Democratic redistribution and rule of the majority," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 96-109.
    6. Javier Olivera, 2014. "Preferences for redistribution after the economic crisis," Economics and Business Letters, Oviedo University Press, vol. 3(3), pages 137-145.
    7. Ayfer Karayel, 2015. "Income Inequality Tolerance and Preferences for Redistribution in Turkey," European Journal of Economics and Business Studies Articles, Revistia Research and Publishing, vol. 1, September.
    8. Andreoli, Francesco & Olivera, Javier, 2020. "Preferences for redistribution and exposure to tax-benefit schemes in Europe," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 63(C).
    9. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2012. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 537-563, June.
    10. Joan Costa-Font & Frank Cowell, 2015. "Social Identity And Redistributive Preferences: A Survey," Journal of Economic Surveys, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 29(2), pages 357-374, April.
    11. Roth, Christopher & Wohlfart, Johannes, 2018. "Experienced inequality and preferences for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C), pages 251-262.
    12. Erik Schokkaert & Tom Truyts, 2017. "Preferences for redistribution and social structure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 49(3), pages 545-576, December.
    13. Alexandru Cojocaru & Mame Fatou Diagne, 2021. "Redistributive preferences in Europe and Central Asia, 2006–2016," Economics of Transition and Institutional Change, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 29(1), pages 151-172, January.
    14. Eiji Yamamura, 2021. "Information of income position and its impact on perceived tax burden and preference for redistribution: An Internet Survey Experiment," Papers 2106.11537, arXiv.org.
    15. Cojocaru, Alexandru & Diagne, Mame Fatou, 2014. "Should income inequality be reduced and who should benefit ? redistributive preferences in Europe and Central Asia," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7097, The World Bank.
    16. Ilpo Kauppinen & Panu Poutvaara, 2012. "Preferences for Redistribution among Emigrants from a Welfare State," ifo Working Paper Series 120, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    17. Fabio Sabatini & Marco Ventura & Eiji Yamamura & Luca Zamparelli, 2020. "Fairness and the Unselfish Demand for Redistribution by Taxpayers and Welfare Recipients," Southern Economic Journal, John Wiley & Sons, vol. 86(3), pages 971-988, January.
    18. Laméris, Maite D. & Garretsen, Harry & Jong-A-Pin, Richard, 2020. "Political ideology and the intragenerational prospect of upward mobility," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 62(C).
    19. Kerr, William R., 2014. "Income inequality and social preferences for redistribution and compensation differentials," Journal of Monetary Economics, Elsevier, vol. 66(C), pages 62-78.
    20. Pfarr Christian & Ulrich Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 232-262, December.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:aea:aecrev:v:105:y:2015:i:4:p:1478-1508. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a bibliographic reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: Michael P. Albert (email available below). General contact details of provider: https://edirc.repec.org/data/aeaaaea.html .

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service. RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.