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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. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
  2. Cruces, Guillermo & Perez Truglia, Ricardo & Tetaz, Martin, 2011. "Biased Perceptions of Income Distribution and Preferences for Redistribution: Evidence from a Survey Experiment," IZA Discussion Papers 5699, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
  3. 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.
  4. 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," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 91(C), pages 75-92.
  5. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The POUM Hypothesis," NBER Working Papers 6795, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
  8. Andreas Georgiadis & Alan Manning, 2012. "Spend it like Beckham? Inequality and redistribution in the UK, 1983–2004," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 151(3), pages 537-563, June.
  9. 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.
  10. 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.
  11. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  12. repec:rwi:repape:0213 is not listed on IDEAS
  13. Christian Bredemeier, 2014. "Imperfect information and the Meltzer-Richard hypothesis," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 159(3), pages 561-576, June.
  14. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  15. 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.
  16. 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.
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