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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.

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  • 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. Jung-In Jo & Hyun Jin Choi, 2019. "Enigmas of grievances about inequality: Effects of attitudes toward inequality and government redistribution on protest participation," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 22(4), pages 348-368, December.
    2. Gimpelson, V. & Chernina, E., 2020. "How we perceive our place in income distribution and how the perceptions deviate from reality," Journal of the New Economic Association, New Economic Association, vol. 46(2), pages 30-56.
    3. Knell, Markus & Stix, Helmut, 2020. "Perceptions of inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 65(C).
    4. Stephen Tay, 2015. "Rethinking Income Inequality in Japan and China (1995–2007)," China Report, , vol. 51(3), pages 230-257, August.
    5. Kuhn, Andreas, 2015. "The Individual Perception of Wage Inequality: A Measurement Framework and Some Empirical Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 9579, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    6. Vladimir Gimpelson & Daniel Treisman, 2018. "Misperceiving inequality," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 27-54, March.
    7. Roberto Iacono & Marco Ranaldi, 2019. "Perceptions of Inequality and Redistribution: A Note," Post-Print halshs-02042330, HAL.
    8. Jung In Jo, 2016. "Weapons of the dissatisfied? Perceptions of socioeconomic inequality, redistributive preference, and political protest: Evidence from South Korea," International Area Studies Review, Center for International Area Studies, Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, vol. 19(4), pages 285-300, December.
    9. Andreas Kuhn, 0. "The individual (mis-)perception of wage inequality: measurement, correlates and implications," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 0, pages 1-31.
    10. Gwangeun Choi, 2021. "Individuals’ socioeconomic position, inequality perceptions, and redistributive preferences in OECD countries," The Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer;Society for the Study of Economic Inequality, vol. 19(2), pages 239-264, June.
    11. Leo Ahrens, 2020. "Unfair Inequality and the Demand for Redistribution," LIS Working papers 771, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    12. Bavetta, Sebastiano & Li Donni, Paolo & Marino, Maria, 2020. "How consistent are perceptions of inequality?," Journal of Economic Psychology, Elsevier, vol. 78(C).
    13. Andreas Kuhn, 2020. "The individual (mis-)perception of wage inequality: measurement, correlates and implications," Empirical Economics, Springer, vol. 59(5), pages 2039-2069, November.
    14. Andreas Kuhn, 2013. "Inequality Perceptions, Distributional Norms, and Redistributive Preferences in East and West Germany," German Economic Review, Verein für Socialpolitik, vol. 14(4), pages 483-499, November.
    15. 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.
    16. Dorn, Florian & Fuest, Clemens & Immel, Lea & Neumeier, Florian, 2018. "Inequality and Extremist Voting: Evidence from Germany," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181598, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    17. Kuhn, Andreas, 2019. "The subversive nature of inequality: Subjective inequality perceptions and attitudes to social inequality," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 59(C), pages 331-344.
    18. Choi, Gwangeun, 2019. "Revisiting the redistribution hypothesis with perceived inequality and redistributive preferences," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 58(C), pages 220-244.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Subjective inequality measures; Distributional justice; Market justice; Support for the welfare state; Party identification;
    All these keywords.

    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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