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Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence

  • Andrew E. Clark

    (PSE - Paris School of Economics, PSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - École des Ponts ParisTech (ENPC) - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Conchita D'Ambrosio

    (Uni.lu - Université du Luxembourg)

We review the findings in surveys and experiments from the literature on attitudes to income inequality. We interpret the latter as any disparity in incomes between individuals. We classify these contributions into two broad groups of individual attitudes to income distribution in a society: the normative and the comparative view. The first can be thought of as the individual's disinterested evaluation of income inequality; on the contrary, the second view reflects self-interest, as individual's inequality attitudes depend not only on how much income they receive but also on how much they receive compared to others. We conclude with a number of extensions, outstanding issues and suggestions for future research.

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