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Do Religious Beliefs Explain Preferences for Income Redistribution? Experimental Evidence


  • Ilja Neustadt


Due to the mixed empirical evidence bearing on the economic determinants, beliefs have been at the centre of attention of research into preferences for income redistribution. We elicit preferences for income redistribution through a Discrete Choice Experiment performed in 2008 in Switzerland and relate them to several behavioural determinants, in particular to religious beliefs. Estimated marginal willingness to pay (WTP) is positive among those who do not belong to a religious denomination, and negative otherwise. However, the marginal WTP is shown to increase with a higher degree of religiosity. Moreover, those who state that luck or connections play a crucial role in determining economic success exhibit significantly higher WTP values than those who deem effort to be decisive. (JEL codes: C35, C93, D63, H29) Copyright The Author 2011. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of Ifo Institute for Economic Research, Munich. All rights reserved. For permissions, please email:, Oxford University Press.

Suggested Citation

  • Ilja Neustadt, 2011. "Do Religious Beliefs Explain Preferences for Income Redistribution? Experimental Evidence," CESifo Economic Studies, CESifo, vol. 57(4), pages 623-652, December.
  • Handle: RePEc:oup:cesifo:v:57:y:2011:i:4:p:623-652

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    Cited by:

    1. Zhou Xun, 2015. "Preference for Redistribution and Inequality Perception in China: Evidence from the CGSS 2006," Working Papers halshs-01143131, HAL.
    2. Michele Sennhauser, 2009. "Why the Linear Utility Function is a Risky Choice in Discrete-Choice Experiments," SOI - Working Papers 1014, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    3. Pfarr, Christian & Schmid, Andreas & Ulrich, Volker, 2013. "You can't always get what you want - East and West Germans' attitudes and preferences regarding the welfare state," MPRA Paper 47240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    4. Pfarr Christian & Ulrich Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 232-262, December.
    5. Zhou Xun, 2015. "Preference for Redistribution and Inequality Perception in China: Evidence from the CGSS 2006," AMSE Working Papers 1518, Aix-Marseille School of Economics, Marseille, France.
    6. Peter Zweifel & Ilja Neustadt, 2013. "Why Does Income Redistribution Differ Between Countries? Comparative Evidence From Germany and Switzerland," ifo DICE Report, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 11(3), pages 39-47, October.
    7. Pfarr, Christian, 2012. "Meltzer-Richard and social mobility hypothesis: revisiting the income-redistribution nexus using German choice data," MPRA Paper 43325, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    8. Peter Backus & Alejandro Esteller-Moré, 2014. "Is income redistribution a form of insurance, a public good or both?," Working Papers 2014/33, Institut d'Economia de Barcelona (IEB).
    9. repec:kap:itaxpf:v:24:y:2017:i:2:d:10.1007_s10797-016-9420-5 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. Neustadt, Ilja & Zweifel, Peter, 2011. "Income redistribution: how to divide the pie?," MPRA Paper 35427, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    11. Fatica, Serena, 2011. "Preferences for redistribution, the size of government and the tax system," MPRA Paper 29782, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    12. Christian Pfarr & Andreas Schmid, 2016. "Redistribution through social health insurance: evidence on citizen preferences," The European Journal of Health Economics, Springer;Deutsche Gesellschaft für Gesundheitsökonomie (DGGÖ), vol. 17(5), pages 611-628, June.
    13. repec:ces:ifodic:v:11:y:2013:i:3:p:19099103 is not listed on IDEAS

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C35 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Multiple or Simultaneous Equation Models; Multiple Variables - - - Discrete Regression and Qualitative Choice Models; Discrete Regressors; Proportions
    • C93 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - Field Experiments
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H29 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Other


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