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More Income Equality or Not? An Empirical Analysis of Individuals? Preferences

Listed author(s):
  • María A. García-Valiñas
  • Roberto Fernández Llera
  • Benno Torgler

Do people prefer a society with an extensive social welfare system with high taxes, or low taxes but lax redistributive policies? Although economists have for a long time investigated the trade-off mechanism between equity and efficiency, surprisingly little information is available about citizens? preferences over the distribution of income in a society. The aim of this paper is reduce this shortcoming, investigating in an empirical study working with World Values Survey, what shapes individuals? preferences for income equality in Spain. We present evidence that not only traditional economic variables are relevant to be considered, but also factors such as ideology, political interest, fairness perception about others or trust in institutions, are key determinants to understand preferences towards redistribution and equality.

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Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2005-23.

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Date of creation: Jul 2005
Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2005-23
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  1. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 1999. "Participation in Heterogeneous Communities," NBER Working Papers 7155, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  3. Clark, Jeremy, 1998. "Fairness preferences and optimization skills: are they substitutes?: An experimental investigation," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 34(4), pages 541-557, March.
  4. Giacomo Bonanno & John Roemer & Louis Putterman & Wen Hai & Shunli Yao, 2003. "Does Egalitarianism Have a Future?," Working Papers 969, University of California, Davis, Department of Economics.
  5. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1997. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," NBER Working Papers 6009, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. David M. Cutler & Edward L. Glaeser & Jacob L. Vigdor, 1999. "The Rise and Decline of the American Ghetto," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 455-506, June.
  7. Hans Peter Gruner & Giacomo Corneo, 2000. "Social Limits to Redistribution," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1491-1507, December.
  8. Esping-Andersen, Gosta, 1999. "Social Foundations of Postindustrial Economies," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198742005.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Reza Baqir & William Easterly, 1999. "Public Goods and Ethnic Divisions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 114(4), pages 1243-1284.
  10. 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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