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What do Germans think and know about income inequality? A survey experiment

Author

Listed:
  • Carina Engelhardt

    (Leibniz University of Hannover, School of Economics and Management)

  • Andreas Wagener

    (Leibniz University of Hannover, School of Economics and Management)

Abstract

Germans are unable to assess their own position in the income distribution of their country and do not know much about income inequality and stratification. They are well aware of their ignorance. Germans would prefer society to be more egalitarian than they perceive it. Providing accurate information about the income distribution does not change this preference for more redistribution – except among those who learn that they are net contributors in the German tax-transfer system.

Suggested Citation

  • Carina Engelhardt & Andreas Wagener, 2016. "What do Germans think and know about income inequality? A survey experiment," Working Papers 389, ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality.
  • Handle: RePEc:inq:inqwps:ecineq2016-389
    as

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    File URL: http://www.ecineq.org/milano/WP/ECINEQ2016-389.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
    2. Clark, Andrew E. & D'Ambrosio, Conchita, 2014. "Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence," IZA Discussion Papers 8136, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. Mounir Karadja & Johanna Mollerstrom & David Seim, 2017. "Richer (and Holier) Than Thou? The Effect of Relative Income Improvements on Demand for Redistribution," The Review of Economics and Statistics, MIT Press, vol. 99(2), pages 201-212, May.
    4. Esther Duflo & Emmanuel Saez, 2003. "The Role of Information and Social Interactions in Retirement Plan Decisions: Evidence from a Randomized Experiment," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 118(3), pages 815-842.
    5. Vladimir Gimpelson & Daniel Treisman, 2018. "Misperceiving inequality," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 30(1), pages 27-54, March.
    6. 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.
    7. Leslie McCall & Lane Kenworthy, 2007. "Inequality, Public Opinion, and Redistribution," LIS Working papers 459, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    8. Engelhardt, Carina & Wagener, Andreas, 2014. "Biased Perceptions of Income Inequality and Redistribution," VfS Annual Conference 2014 (Hamburg): Evidence-based Economic Policy 100395, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    9. Robert Jensen, 2010. "The (Perceived) Returns to Education and the Demand for Schooling," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 125(2), pages 515-548.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. What do Germans think and know about income inequality? A survey experiment
      by maximorossi in NEP-LTV blog on 2016-04-07 18:39:30

    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Malte Luebker, 2019. "Can the Structure of Inequality Explain Fiscal Redistribution? Revisiting the Social Affinity Hypothesis," LIS Working papers 762, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    2. Simixhiu, Amantia & Ziegler, Andreas, 2018. "On the relevance of income and behavioral factors for absolute and relative donations: A framed field experiment," VfS Annual Conference 2018 (Freiburg, Breisgau): Digital Economy 181600, Verein für Socialpolitik / German Economic Association.
    3. Ilpo Kauppinen & Panu Poutvaara, 2019. "Preferences for Redistribution and International Migration," ifo Working Paper Series 283, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich.
    4. McGovern, Patrick & Obradović, Sandra & Bauer, Martin W., 2020. "Income inequality and the absence of a Tawney moment in the mass media," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 107535, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    5. Leo Ahrens, 2020. "Unfair Inequality and the Demand for Redistribution," LIS Working papers 771, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
    6. Judith Niehues, 2019. "Soziale Ungleichheit in Deutschland – Wahrnehmung und Wirklichkeit," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 27(02), pages 06-11, April.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Biased perceptions; preferences for redistribution; Germany.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution

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