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Social preferences for public intervention: An empirical investigation based on French data

  • Boarini, Romina
  • Le Clainche, Christine
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    In this paper we examine the support given by French households to public intervention aimed at reducing inequalities and improving the well-being of low-income classes. We first discuss to what extent the model of self-interest could be relied upon when one wants to take into account social norms to explain the individual demand for redistribution. We find that social beliefs play an important role in explaining individual attitudes towards public intervention. We also find that the support given to redistribution can increase or decrease depending on the interaction between reciprocity norms and beliefs regarding the causes of poverty.

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    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Behavioral and Experimental Economics (formerly The Journal of Socio-Economics).

    Volume (Year): 38 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 1 (January)
    Pages: 115-128

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:soceco:v:38:y:2009:i:1:p:115-128
    Contact details of provider: Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/620175

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    1. Thomas Piketty, 1994. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," Working papers 94-15, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Department of Economics.
    2. Besley, Timothy & Coate, Stephen, 1992. "Understanding welfare stigma: Taxpayer resentment and statistical discrimination," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 48(2), pages 165-183, July.
    3. Erzo F.P. Luttmer, 1999. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," JCPR Working Papers 61, Northwestern University/University of Chicago Joint Center for Poverty Research.
    4. Varian, Hal R., 1980. "Redistributive taxation as social insurance," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 14(1), pages 49-68, August.
    5. Eaton, Jonathan & Rosen, Harvey S, 1980. "Taxation, Human Capital, and Uncertainty," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 70(4), pages 705-15, September.
    6. Samuel Bowles & Herbert Gintis, 2000. "Reciprocity, Self-Interest and the Welfare State," Nordic Journal of Political Economy, Nordic Journal of Political Economy, vol. 26, pages 33-53.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    8. Barr, Nicholas, 1992. "Economic Theory and the Welfare State: A Survey and Interpretation," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 30(2), pages 741-803, June.
    9. Sinn, Hans-Werner, 1995. "A Theory of the Welfare State," CEPR Discussion Papers 1278, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    10. Hochman, Harold M & Rodgers, James D, 1969. "Pareto Optimal Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 59(4), pages 542-57, Part I Se.
    11. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
    12. Moene, K.O. & Walelrstein, M., 1996. "Pay Inequality and Job Creation," Memorandum 26/1996, Oslo University, Department of Economics.
    13. George A. Akerlof, 1997. "Social Distance and Social Decisions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 65(5), pages 1005-1028, September.
    14. 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 914-27, October.
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