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Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution

Author

Listed:
  • Alberto Alesina

    (Harvard University)

  • Stefanie Stantcheva

    (Harvard University)

  • Edoardo Teso

    (Harvard University)

Abstract

Using newly collected cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in five countries: France, Italy, Sweden, U.K., and U.S. Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about intergenerational mobility, and too optimistic relative to actual mobility. Our randomized treatment that shows respondents pessimistic information about mobility increases support for redistribution, mostly for equality of opportunity policies. A strong political polarization exists: Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about intergenerational mobility, their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions, and they respond to pessimistic information by increasing support for redistribution. None of these apply to right-wing respondents, possibly because of their negative views of government.

Suggested Citation

  • Alberto Alesina & Stefanie Stantcheva & Edoardo Teso, 2016. "Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution," Working Papers 2016-037, Human Capital and Economic Opportunity Working Group.
  • Handle: RePEc:hka:wpaper:2016-037
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    redistribution; intergenerational mobility; taxation; online experiment; fairness;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H21 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Efficiency; Optimal Taxation
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • H24 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Personal Income and Other Nonbusiness Taxes and Subsidies
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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