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Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution

  • Erzo F.P. Luttmer
  • Monica Singhal

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.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 14268.

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Date of creation: Aug 2008
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Publication status: published as Erzo F. P. Luttmer & Monica Singhal, 2011. "Culture, Context, and the Taste for Redistribution," American Economic Journal: Economic Policy, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 157-79, February.
Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:14268
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