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In the eye of the beholder: Subjective inequality measures and individuals' assessment of market justice

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  • Kuhn, Andreas

Abstract

This study presents a simple empirical framework suitable for describing individuals' subjective evaluations of wage inequality and their normative assessment of market justice. The framework is illustrated using survey data from the International Social Survey Program from Switzerland. Although most individuals accept the fact that there are quite large pay differentials across different occupations, they would still prefer a more equal distribution of market wages. The empirical analysis further shows that financial self-interest, normative beliefs, and perceptions of how wages are determined all have an impact on the assessment of market justice. Finally, subjective inequality measures and the assessment of market justice turn out to be substantive predictors of individuals' general support for the welfare state and their party identification.

Suggested Citation

  • Kuhn, Andreas, 2011. "In the eye of the beholder: Subjective inequality measures and individuals' assessment of market justice," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 27(4), pages 625-641.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:27:y:2011:i:4:p:625-641 DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2011.06.002
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    Cited by:

    1. Kuhn, Andreas, 2015. "The Individual Perception of Wage Inequality: A Measurement Framework and Some Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9579, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    2. Cojocaru, Alexandru, 2014. "Prospects of upward mobility and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from the Life in Transition Survey," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 300-314.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective inequality measures; Distributional justice; Market justice; Support for the welfare state; Party identification;

    JEL classification:

    • D3 - Microeconomics - - Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H1 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government

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