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Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution

  • Luttmer, Erzo F. P.

    (Harvard U)

  • Singhal, Monica

    (Harvard U)

Is culture an important determinant of preferences for redistribution? To separate the effect of culture from the effect of the economic and institutional environment ("context"), we relate immigrants' preferences for redistribution to the average preference in their birth countries, controlling extensively for individual characteristics and country-of-residence fixed effects. We find a strong positive relationship. This cultural effect is larger for non-voters, those with shorter tenure in the country of residence, and those who move to countries with a large number of immigrants from their own birth countries. Immigrants from countries with a higher preference for redistribution are also more likely to vote for a more proredistribution political party. The effect of culture persists strongly into the second generation.

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Paper provided by Harvard University, John F. Kennedy School of Government in its series Working Paper Series with number rwp08-038.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Handle: RePEc:ecl:harjfk:rwp08-038
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