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Inequality Aversion and Voting on Redistribution

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  • Wolfgang Hoechtl

    ()

  • Rupert Sausgruber

    ()

  • Jean-Robert Tyran

    ()

Abstract

Mounting evidence shows that there is heterogeneity in aversion to inequality, i.e. that some people have a concern for a fair distribution. Does such a concern matter for majority voting on redistribution? Fairness preferences are relevant for redistribution outcomes only if fair voters are pivotal. Pivotality, in turn, depends on the structure of income classes. We experimentally study voting on redistribution between two income classes and show that the effects of inequality aversion are asymmetric. Inequality aversion is more likely to matter if the �rich� are in majority. With a �poor� majority, we find that redistribution outcomes look as if all voters were exclusively motivated by their pocketbook.

Suggested Citation

  • Wolfgang Hoechtl & Rupert Sausgruber & Jean-Robert Tyran, 2011. "Inequality Aversion and Voting on Redistribution," Working Papers 2011-13, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
  • Handle: RePEc:inn:wpaper:2011-13
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    Cited by:

    1. Agranov, Marina & Palfrey, Thomas R., 2015. "Equilibrium tax rates and income redistribution: A laboratory study," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 130(C), pages 45-58.
    2. Balafoutas, Loukas & Kocher, Martin G. & Putterman, Louis & Sutter, Matthias, 2013. "Equality, equity and incentives: An experiment," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 60(C), pages 32-51.
    3. Dittmann, Ingolf & Kübler, Dorothea & Maug, Ernst & Mechtenberg, Lydia, 2014. "Why votes have value: Instrumental voting with overconfidence and overestimation of others' errors," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 84(C), pages 17-38.
    4. Sausgruber, Rupert & Tyran, Jean-Robert, 2014. "Discriminatory taxes are unpopular—Even when they are efficient and distributionally fair," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 463-476.
    5. Marcelo Tyszler & Arthur Schram, 2013. "Strategic Voting in Heterogeneous Electorates: An Experimental Study," Games, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(4), pages 1-24, November.
    6. Neil Buckley & Katherine Cuff & Jeremiah Hurley & Stuart Mestelman & Stephanie Thomas & David Cameron, 2013. "Support for Public Provision with Top-Up and Opt-Out: A Controlled Laboratory Experiment," Department of Economics Working Papers 2013-15, McMaster University.
    7. Corneo, Giacomo & Neher, Frank, 2015. "Democratic redistribution and rule of the majority," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 40(PA), pages 96-109.
    8. Rudolf Kerschbamer & Daniel Muller, 2017. "Social preferences and political attitudes: An online experiment on a large heterogeneous sample," Working Papers 2017-16, Faculty of Economics and Statistics, University of Innsbruck.
    9. Christos Bilanakos, 2012. "Consumers’ Heterogeneity, Publicness of Goods and the Size of Public Sector," University of Cyprus Working Papers in Economics 18-2012, University of Cyprus Department of Economics.
    10. Paetzel, Fabian & Sausgruber, Rupert & Traub, Stefan, 2014. "Social preferences and voting on reform: An experimental study," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 70(C), pages 36-55.
    11. Marco Battaglini & Lydia Mechtenberg, 2014. "When do conflicting parties share political power? An experimental study," Working Papers 057-2014, Princeton University, Department of Economics, Econometric Research Program..
    12. Buckley, Neil & Cuff, Katherine & Hurley, Jeremiah & Mestelman, Stuart & Thomas, Stephanie & Cameron, David, 2015. "Support for public provision of a private good with top-up and opt-out: A controlled laboratory experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 111(C), pages 177-196.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    redistribution; self interest; inequality aversion; median voter; experiment;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • C9 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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