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

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  • Russell Smyth

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  • Vinod Mishra
  • Xiaolei Qian

Abstract

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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Suggested Citation

  • Russell Smyth & Vinod Mishra & Xiaolei Qian, 2010. "Knowing One’s Lot in Life Versus Climbing the Social Ladder: The Formation of Redistributive Preferences in Urban China," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 96(2), pages 275-293, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:soinre:v:96:y:2010:i:2:p:275-293
    DOI: 10.1007/s11205-009-9478-x
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    Cited by:

    1. GAO, Wenshu & SMYTH, Russell, 2010. "Job satisfaction and relative income in economic transition: Status or signal?: The case of urban China," China Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 21(3), pages 442-455, September.
    2. Vinod Mishra & Ingrid Nielsen & Russell Smyth, 2014. "How Does Relative Income and Variations in Short-Run Wellbeing Affect Wellbeing in the Long Run? Empirical Evidence From China’s Korean Minority," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 115(1), pages 67-91, January.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    China; Equal opportunities; Redistribution; Mobility;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement

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