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Experienced Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution

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  • Christopher Roth
  • Johannes Wohlfart

Abstract

We examine whether individuals’ experienced levels of income inequality affect their preferences for redistribution. We use several large nationally representative datasets to show that people who have experienced higher inequality during their lives are less in favor of redistribution, after controlling for income, demographics, unemployment experiences and current macroeconomic conditions. They are also less likely to support left-wing parties and to consider the prevailing distribution of incomes to be unfair. We provide evidence that these findings do not operate through extrapolation from own circumstances, perceived relative income or trust in the political system, but seem to operate through the respondents’ fairness views.

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  • Christopher Roth & Johannes Wohlfart, 2016. "Experienced Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution," CESifo Working Paper Series 6251, CESifo.
  • Handle: RePEc:ces:ceswps:_6251
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    inequality; redistribution; macroeconomic experiences; fairness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • P16 - Political Economy and Comparative Economic Systems - - Capitalist Economies - - - Capitalist Institutions; Welfare State
    • E60 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - General
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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