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Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities

Listed author(s):
  • Alesina, Alberto
  • La Ferrara, Eliana

This paper explores how individual preferences for redistribution depend on future income prospects. In addition to estimating the impact of individuals' socioeconomic background and of their subjective perceptions of future mobility, we employ panel data to construct ‘objective’ measures of expected gains and losses from redistribution for different categories of individuals. We find that such measures have considerable explanatory power and perform better than ‘general mobility’ indexes. We also find that preferences for redistribution respond to individual beliefs on what determines one's position in the social ladder. Ceteris paribus, people who believe that the American society offers 'equal opportunities' are more averse to redistribution.

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Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 89 (2005)
Issue (Month): 5-6 (June)
Pages: 897-931

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:89:y:2005:i:5-6:p:897-931
Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  37. repec:adr:anecst:y:2001:i:63-64:p:14 is not listed on IDEAS
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