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Understanding preferences for income redistribution

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  • Keely, Louise C.
  • Tan, Chih Ming

Abstract

Recent research suggests that income redistribution preferences vary across identity groups. We employ statistical learning methods that emphasize pattern recognition; classification and regression trees (CART(TM)) and random forests (RandomForests(TM)), to uncover what these groups are. Using data from the General Social Survey, we find that, out of a large set of identity markers, only race, gender, age, and socioeconomic class are important classifiers for income redistribution preferences. Further, the uncovered identity groupings are characterized by complex patterns of interaction amongst these salient classifiers. We explore the extent to which existing theories of income redistribution can explain our results, but conclude that current approaches do not fully explain the findings.

Suggested Citation

  • Keely, Louise C. & Tan, Chih Ming, 2008. "Understanding preferences for income redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 92(5-6), pages 944-961, June.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:92:y:2008:i:5-6:p:944-961
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    Cited by:

    1. Luiz Mello & Simone Schotte & Erwin R. Tiongson & Hernan Winkler, 2017. "Greying the Budget: Ageing and Preferences over Public Policies," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 70(1), pages 70-96, February.
    2. 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.
    3. Ioannides, Yannis M. & Soetevent, Adriaan R., 2007. "Social networking and individual outcomes beyond the mean field case," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 64(3-4), pages 369-390.
    4. Darlene Chisholm & Margaret McMillan & George Norman, 2010. "Product differentiation and film-programming choice: do first-run movie theatres show the same films?," Journal of Cultural Economics, Springer;The Association for Cultural Economics International, vol. 34(2), pages 131-145, May.
    5. Gilbert Metcalf & Jongsang Park, 2007. "A comment on the role of prices for excludable public goods," International Tax and Public Finance, Springer;International Institute of Public Finance, vol. 14(6), pages 685-698, December.
    6. Deffains, Bruno & Espinosa, Romain & Thöni, Christian, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 134(C), pages 67-74.
    7. Bruno Deffains & Romain Espinosa & Christian Thöni, 2016. "Political self-serving bias and redistribution," Post-Print halshs-01634208, HAL.
    8. repec:spr:sochwe:v:49:y:2017:i:3:d:10.1007_s00355-016-0996-6 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Germán Caruso & Walter Sosa-Escudero & Marcela Svarc, 2015. "Deprivation and the Dimensionality of Welfare: A Variable-Selection Cluster-Analysis Approach," Review of Income and Wealth, International Association for Research in Income and Wealth, vol. 61(4), pages 702-722, December.
    10. 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.
    11. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for Redistribution around the World," Working Papers 26/2012, Universidade Portucalense, Centro de Investigação em Gestão e Economia (CIGE).
    12. Stichnoth, Holger & van der Straeten, Karine, 2009. "Ethnic diversity and attitudes towards redistribution: a review of the literature," ZEW Discussion Papers 09-036, ZEW - Zentrum für Europäische Wirtschaftsforschung / Center for European Economic Research.
    13. Alberto Montagnoli & Mirko Moro & Robert Wright, 2016. "Financial literacy and attitudes to redistribution," Working Papers 1605, University of Strathclyde Business School, Department of Economics.
    14. Joyce, Yvonne & Walker, Stephen P., 2015. "Gender essentialism and occupational segregation in insolvency practice," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 41-60.
    15. Raul Magni-Berton, 2014. "Immigration, redistribution, and universal suffrage," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 160(3), pages 391-409, September.
    16. Kamas, Linda & Preston, Anne, 2015. "Can social preferences explain gender differences in economic behavior?," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 116(C), pages 525-539.
    17. Claudia Senik & Holger Stichnoth & Karine Straeten, 2009. "Immigration and Natives’ Attitudes towards the Welfare State: Evidence from the European Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 91(3), pages 345-370, May.
    18. Neher, Frank, 2012. "Preferences for redistribution around the world," Discussion Papers 2012/2, Free University Berlin, School of Business & Economics.
    19. Adam Okulicz-Kozaryn, 2014. "Winners and Losers in Transition: Preferences for Redistribution and Nostalgia for Communism in Eastern Europe," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 67(3), pages 447-461, August.
    20. Sophie Harnay & Elisabeth Tovar, 2017. "Obeying vs. resisting unfair laws. A structural analysis of the internalization of collective preferences on redistribution using classification trees and random forests," EconomiX Working Papers 2017-34, University of Paris Nanterre, EconomiX.
    21. Darlene C. Chisholm & George Norman, 2006. "When to Exit a Product: Evidence from the U. S. Motion-Picture Exhibition Market," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 96(2), pages 57-61, May.
    22. Tsuchimoto Menkyna, Fusako, 2014. "A theory of ethnic diversity and income distribution: A legislative bargaining approach," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 34(C), pages 52-67.
    23. Antoni Calvo-Armengol & Yannis M. Ioannides, 2005. "Social Networks in Labor Markets," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0517, Department of Economics, Tufts University.
    24. Louise C. Keely & Chih Ming Tan, 2005. "Understanding Divergent Views on Redistribution Policy in the United States," Discussion Papers Series, Department of Economics, Tufts University 0515, Department of Economics, Tufts University.

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    JEL classification:

    • H3 - Public Economics - - Fiscal Policies and Behavior of Economic Agents
    • H4 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods

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