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Knowing One’s Lot in Life Versus Climbing the Social Ladder: The Formation of Redistributive Preferences in Urban China

  • Russell Smyth

    ()

  • Vinod Mishra
  • Xiaolei Qian

This paper examines how individual preferences for redistribution depend on beliefs about what determines one's lot in life and self-assessed prospects for climbing the social ladder in urban China. We find that both beliefs about what determines one's lot in life and subjective perceptions of future mobility are correlated with the formation of left-wing beliefs and, by extension, preferences for redistribution. We find that the marginal effects of the variables measuring one's lot in life are larger than self-assessed prospects for climbing the social ladder. These findings are robust to the inclusion of control variables for the personal characteristics of the respondent, including his or her ideology, and the location in which he or she lives.

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File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1007/s11205-009-9478-x
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Article provided by Springer in its journal Social Indicators Research.

Volume (Year): 96 (2010)
Issue (Month): 2 (April)
Pages: 275-293

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Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:96:y:2010:i:2:p:275-293
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  1. Knight, John & Yueh, Linda, 2004. "Job mobility of residents and migrants in urban China," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(4), pages 637-660, December.
  2. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
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  7. Appleton, Simon & Knight, John & Song, Lina & Xia, Qingjie, 2002. "Labor retrenchment in China: Determinants and consequences," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 13(2-3), pages 252-275.
  8. Alberto Alesina & George-Marios Angeletos, 2004. "Fairness and Redistribution," Levine's Bibliography 122247000000000283, UCLA Department of Economics.
  9. Hirschman, Albert O., 1973. "The changing tolerance for income inequality in the course of economic development," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 1(12), pages 29-36, December.
  10. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Who wants to redistribute?: The tunnel effect in 1990s Russia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 87-104, April.
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