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Biased Perceptions of Income Inequality and Redistribution

  • Engelhardt, Carina
  • Wagener, Andreas

When based on perceived rather than o n objective income distributions, the Meltzer- Richards hypothesis and the POUM hypothesis work quite well empirically: there exists a positive link between perceived inequality or perceived upward mobility and the extent of redistribution in democratic regimes - though such a link does not exist when objective measures of inequality and social mobility are used. These observations highlight that political preferences and choices might depend more on perceptions than on factual data.

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Paper provided by Leibniz Universität Hannover, Wirtschaftswissenschaftliche Fakultät in its series Hannover Economic Papers (HEP) with number dp-526.

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Length: 22 pages
Date of creation: Feb 2014
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:han:dpaper:dp-526
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  1. Benabou, R. & Ok, E.A., 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," Working Papers 98-23, C.V. Starr Center for Applied Economics, New York University.
  2. Bjørnskov, Christian & Dreher, Axel & Fischer, Justina A. V. & Schnellenbach, Jan & Gehring, Kai, 2013. "Inequality and happiness: When perceived social mobility and economic reality do not match," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 13/2, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  3. Gouveia, Miguel & Masia, Neal A, 1998. " Does the Median Voter Model Explain the Size of Government?: Evidence from the States," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 97(1-2), pages 159-77, October.
  4. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2007. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983-2004," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 19697, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  5. Corneo, Giacomo & Grüner, Hans Peter, 2001. "Individual Preferences for Political Redistribution," CEPR Discussion Papers 2694, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Allan Meltzer & Scott Richard, 1983. "Tests of a rational theory of the size of government," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 41(3), pages 403-418, January.
  7. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
  8. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  9. Borge, Lars-Erik & Rattso, J.Jorn, 2004. "Income distribution and tax structure: Empirical test of the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 48(4), pages 805-826, August.
  10. repec:rwi:repape:0213 is not listed on IDEAS
  11. Milanovic, Branko, 2000. "The median-voter hypothesis, income inequality, and income redistribution: an empirical test with the required data," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 16(3), pages 367-410, September.
  12. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez-Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2013. "Biased perceptions of income distribution and preferences for redistribution: Evidence from a survey experiment," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 100-112.
  13. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1936, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  14. Francesco Scervini, 2012. "Empirics of the median voter: democracy, redistribution and the role of the middle class," Journal of Economic Inequality, Springer, vol. 10(4), pages 529-550, December.
  15. Christian Bredemeier, 2014. "Imperfect information and the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 561-576, June.
  16. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
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