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Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities

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  • La Ferrara, Eliana
  • Alesina, Alberto

Abstract

This paper explores how individual preferences for redistribution depend on future income prospects. In addition to estimating the impact of individuals' socioeconomic background and of their subjective perceptions of future mobility, we employ panel data to construct ‘objective’ measures of expected gains and losses from redistribution for different categories of individuals. We find that such measures have considerable explanatory power and perform better than ‘general mobility’ indexes. We also find that preferences for redistribution respond to individual beliefs on what determines one's position in the social ladder. Ceteris paribus, people who believe that the American society offers 'equal opportunities' are more averse to redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:hrv:faseco:4552533
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • J62 - Labor and Demographic Economics - - Mobility, Unemployment, Vacancies, and Immigrant Workers - - - Job, Occupational and Intergenerational Mobility; Promotion

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