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Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution

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  • Erzo F.P. Luttmer
  • Monica Singhal

Abstract

Is culture an important determinant of preferences for redistribution? To separate the effect of culture from the effect of the economic and institutional environment ("context"), we relate immigrants' preferences for redistribution to the average preference in their birth countries, controlling extensively for individual characteristics and country-of-residence fixed effects. We find a strong positive relationship. This cultural effect is larger for non-voters, those with shorter tenure in the country of residence, and those who move to countries with a large number of immigrants from their own birth countries. Immigrants from countries with a higher preference for redistribution are also more likely to vote for a more pro-redistribution political party. The effect of culture persists strongly into the second generation.

Suggested Citation

  • Erzo F.P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2008. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," NBER Working Papers 14268, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  • Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14268
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    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • H23 - Public Economics - - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue - - - Externalities; Redistributive Effects; Environmental Taxes and Subsidies
    • Z10 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - General

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