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Natural disasters and demand for redistribution: lessons from an earthquake

Author

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  • Gualtieri, Giovanni
  • Nicolini, Marcella
  • Sabatini, Fabio
  • Zamparelli, Luca

Abstract

Abstract The literature shows that when a society believes that wealth is determined by random “luck” rather than by merit, it demands more redistribution. Adverse shocks, like earthquakes, strengthen the belief that random “bad luck” can frustrate the outcomes achieved with merit. We theoretically illustrate that individuals react to such shocks by raising support for redistribution. We then present evidence of this behavior by exploiting a natural experiment provided by one of the strongest seismic events that occurred in Italy in the last three decades, the L’Aquila earthquake in 2009. We assemble a novel dataset by matching information on the ground acceleration registered throughout the National Strong Motion Network during the earthquake with survey data about individual opinions on redistribution collected a few months later. The empirical analysis illustrates that the intensity of the shakes is associated with subsequent stronger beliefs that, for a society to be fair, income inequalities should be levelled by redistribution.

Suggested Citation

  • Gualtieri, Giovanni & Nicolini, Marcella & Sabatini, Fabio & Zamparelli, Luca, 2018. "Natural disasters and demand for redistribution: lessons from an earthquake," MPRA Paper 86445, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:86445
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    fairness; redistribution; inequality; natural disasters; earthquakes;

    JEL classification:

    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D69 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Other
    • H10 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - General
    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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