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Subjective Income and Employment Expecations and Preferences for Redistribution


  • Helmut Rainer
  • Thomas Siedler


Using probabilistic expectations data from the German Socio-Economic Panel, we establish a link between self-reported expectations of occupational mobility and individual preferences for redistribution. We do this with the intention to provide new evidence on the validity of the “prospect of upward mobility” (POUM) hypothesis, which features prominently in the current literature on redistributive politics.

Suggested Citation

  • Helmut Rainer & Thomas Siedler, 2007. "Subjective Income and Employment Expecations and Preferences for Redistribution," Discussion Paper Series, Department of Economics 200704, Department of Economics, University of St. Andrews.
  • Handle: RePEc:san:wpecon:0704

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    2. Roland Benabou & Efe A. Ok, 2001. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: The Poum Hypothesis," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 116(2), pages 447-487.
    3. Roland Bénabou & Jean Tirole, 2006. "Belief in a Just World and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 121(2), pages 699-746.
    4. Charles F. Manski, 2004. "Measuring Expectations," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 72(5), pages 1329-1376, September.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(5-6), pages 897-931, June.
    6. Checchi, Daniele & Filippin, Antonio, 2003. "An Experimental Study of the POUM Hypothesis," IZA Discussion Papers 912, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    7. Ravallion, Martin & Lokshin, Michael, 2000. "Who wants to redistribute?: The tunnel effect in 1990s Russia," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 87-104, April.
    8. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
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    Cited by:

    1. Tina Haußen, 2014. "Yours, mine & ours - The role of gender and (equivalence) income in preferences for redistribution and public spending," Jena Economic Research Papers 2014-033, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena.
    2. Guido Heineck & Bernd Süßmuth, 2011. "Wie nachhaltig prägen uns politische Systeme? Evidenz aus der zweiten Dekade des Wiedervereinigungsprozesses," ifo Dresden berichtet, ifo Institute - Leibniz Institute for Economic Research at the University of Munich, vol. 18(02), pages 23-26, April.
    3. Andreas Kuhn, 2011. "Inequality Perceptions, Distributional Norms, and Redistributive Preferences in East and West Germany," NRN working papers 2011-15, The Austrian Center for Labor Economics and the Analysis of the Welfare State, Johannes Kepler University Linz, Austria.
    4. Ilja Neustadt & Peter Zweifel, 2010. "Is the Welfare State Sustainable? Experimental Evidence on Citizens’ Preferences for Redistribution," SOI - Working Papers 1003, Socioeconomic Institute - University of Zurich.
    5. Eiji Yamamura & Yoshiro Tsutsui & Fumio Ohtake, 2015. "Relative income position and happiness: are cabinet supporters different from others in Japan?," ISER Discussion Paper 0921, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    6. Buscha, Franz, 2012. "Financial expectations and the ‘left–right’ political value scale: Testing for the POUM hypothesis," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(3), pages 460-464.
    7. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Trust in government and its effect on preferences for income redistribution and perceived tax burden," Economics of Governance, Springer, vol. 15(1), pages 71-100, February.
    8. Tamas Hajdu & Gabor Hajdu, 2013. "Are more equal societies happier? Subjective well-being, income inequality, and redistribution," IEHAS Discussion Papers 1320, Institute of Economics, Centre for Economic and Regional Studies, Hungarian Academy of Sciences.
    9. Thomas Siedler & Bettina Sonnenberg, 2012. "Intergenerational Earnings Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution," SOEPpapers on Multidisciplinary Panel Data Research 510, DIW Berlin, The German Socio-Economic Panel (SOEP).
    10. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Social capital, household income, and preferences for income redistribution," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 28(4), pages 498-511.
    11. repec:eee:pubeco:v:153:y:2017:i:c:p:49-55 is not listed on IDEAS
    12. Pfarr, Christian & Schmid, Andreas & Ulrich, Volker, 2013. "You can't always get what you want - East and West Germans' attitudes and preferences regarding the welfare state," MPRA Paper 47240, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    13. Pfarr Christian & Ulrich Volker, 2011. "Discrete-Choice-Experimente zur Ermittlung der Präferenzen für Umverteilung," Review of Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 62(3), pages 232-262, December.
    14. Yamamura, Eiji, 2011. "Effect of social capital on income distribution preferences: comparison of neighborhood externality between high- and low-income households," MPRA Paper 32557, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    15. Ilya Prakhov, 2017. "Determinants of Expected Return on Higher Education in Moscow," Educational Studies, Higher School of Economics, issue 1, pages 25-57.
    16. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Norm for redistribution, social capital, and perceived tax burden: comparison between highand low-income households," Review of Economics and Institutions, Università di Perugia, vol. 6(2).
    17. Pfarr, Christian, 2012. "Meltzer-Richard and social mobility hypothesis: revisiting the income-redistribution nexus using German choice data," MPRA Paper 43325, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    18. Feri, Francesco, 2012. "A note on the POUM effect with heterogeneous social mobility," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 115(2), pages 258-262.
    19. Eiji Yamamura, 2015. "Effects of Siblings and Birth Order on Income Redistribution Preferences: Evidence Based on Japanese General Social Survey," Social Indicators Research: An International and Interdisciplinary Journal for Quality-of-Life Measurement, Springer, vol. 121(2), pages 589-606, April.
    20. Hajdu, Tamás & Hajdu, Gábor, 2014. "Reduction of income inequality and subjective well-being in Europe," Economics - The Open-Access, Open-Assessment E-Journal, Kiel Institute for the World Economy (IfW), vol. 8, pages 1-29.
    21. Eiji Yamamura, 2014. "Comparing the influence of conflict on the perceptions of rich and poor: testing the hypothesis of Acemoglu and Robinson," ISER Discussion Paper 0911, Institute of Social and Economic Research, Osaka University.
    22. Luna Bellani & Heinrich Ursprung, 2016. "The Political Economy of Redistribution Policy," CESifo Working Paper Series 6189, CESifo Group Munich.
    23. Kuhn, Andreas, 2011. "Inequality Perceptions, Distributional Norms, and Redistributive Preferences in East and West Germany," IZA Discussion Papers 5573, Institute for the Study of Labor (IZA).
    24. Yamamura, Eiji, 2012. "Effects of siblings and birth order on income redistribution preferences," MPRA Paper 38658, University Library of Munich, Germany.

    More about this item


    Expectations Data; Subjective Probabilities; Occupational Mobility; Preferences for Redistribution.;

    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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