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The redistributive preferences of the well-off

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Abstract

We argue that the structure of inequality (not only its level) has an impact on redistributive preferences. We test this argument on the well-off, as they stand in a pivotal position between households that have a reduced capacity to contribute to taxation due to limited labour income, and households with greater facility to achieve fiscal optimization thanks to capital income. Inequality is measured at different locations of the income distribution, nearby the income position of the well-off. Attitudes are measured through ISSP international survey, fielded from 1985 to 2006 across 19 countries. Consistent with Albert Hirschman's ‘tunnel effect’, our results show that support for redistribution amongst the well-off is conditioned by their prospect of mobility in both directions, proxied by the change in inequality next to them. Support amongst the well-off increases when their expected cost of downgrading rises, while it decreases when top incomes move further away in the income distribution

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  • Elvire Guillaud & Michaël Zemmour, 2017. "The redistributive preferences of the well-off," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 17050, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
  • Handle: RePEc:mse:cesdoc:17050
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    File URL: ftp://mse.univ-paris1.fr/pub/mse/CES2017/17050.pdf
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    1. Gabriel Zucman, 2014. "Taxing across Borders: Tracking Personal Wealth and Corporate Profits," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 28(4), pages 121-148, Fall.
    2. Elvire Guillaud, 2011. "Preferences for redistribution: an empirical analysis," Documents de travail du Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne 11030, Université Panthéon-Sorbonne (Paris 1), Centre d'Economie de la Sorbonne.
    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 914-927, October.
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    1. How inequality persists
      by chris in Stumbling and Mumbling on 2018-01-04 19:35:43

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Preferences for redistribution; Inequality; Tunnel effect; Well-off;

    JEL classification:

    • D31 - Microeconomics - - Distribution - - - Personal Income and Wealth Distribution
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies

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