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The emerging aversion to inequality - Evidence from long subjective data

  • Irena Grosfeld

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris)

  • Claudia Senik

    (EEP-PSE - Ecole d'Économie de Paris - Paris School of Economics - Ecole d'Économie de Paris, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - CNRS : UMR8545 - École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - École normale supérieure [ENS] - Paris, UP4 - Université Paris 4, Paris-Sorbonne - Université Paris IV - Paris Sorbonne - Ministère de l'Enseignement Supérieur et de la Recherche Scientifique)

This paper provides evidence of a change in the relationship between individual satisfaction with the state of country's economy and income inequality during transition from a command to market economic system. Using data from a series of extensive and frequent surveys of Polish population, we identify a structural break in this relationship. In the beginning of transition, an increase in income inequality is interpreted by population as a positive signal of increased opportunities; this sentiment is particularly strong among older people and people with right-wing political views. Later in the transition period, increased inequality becomes an important reason for dissatisfaction of the public with the country's economic situation and reforms, as people become more skeptical about the legitimacy of income generation process. We also provide direct evidence from opinion polls of a change in the public sentiment about income inequality.

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Paper provided by HAL in its series PSE Working Papers with number halshs-00586788.

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Date of creation: Jan 2009
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Handle: RePEc:hal:psewpa:halshs-00586788
Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: http://halshs.archives-ouvertes.fr/halshs-00586788
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  1. Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2008. "Gross national happiness as an answer to the Easterlin Paradox?," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 86(1), pages 22-42, April.
  2. Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers, 2008. "Economic Growth and Subjective Well-Being: Reassessing the Easterlin Paradox," CESifo Working Paper Series 2394, CESifo Group Munich.
  3. DiTella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert & Oswald, Andrew J., 1999. "The macroeconomics of happiness," ZEI Working Papers B 03-1999, ZEI - Center for European Integration Studies, University of Bonn.
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