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Has the attitude of US citizens towards redistribution changed over time?

  • M. Grazia Pittau


    (Sapienza Universita' di Roma)

  • Roberto Zelli


    (Sapienza Universita' di Roma)

Demand for redistribution has been traditionally investigated within a static scenario, giving the perception of a stationary association between individual determinants and preferences. Using repeated cross-sectional survey data from the General Social Survey over the period 1978{2010, we model individual preferences in the U.S. within a chronological perspective. We t a a logistic non-nested multilevel model with three di erent levels of variation: individuals, time and cohort. Despite an overall stable trend in demand for redistribution, we nd that driving factors in shaping redistributive preferences have changed rapidly. Personal income is always a strong predictor, with the poor-rich gap increasing over time. Large changes have characterized the e ects of education, ethnic bonds and self-declared party identi cation. Over time, highly educated people have increased their probability to be in favor of redistribution while the less educated have become less prone. Ethnicity mattered more in the 1970s than in the 2000s. In the 2000s it is party aliation that shapes preferences rather than ethnic bonds: white and black democrats have similar feelings toward redistribution and so do white and black republicans.

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Paper provided by Centre for Empirical Economics and Econometrics, Department of Statistics, "Sapienza" University of Rome in its series DSS Empirical Economics and Econometrics Working Papers Series with number 2013/3.

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Length: 29 pages
Date of creation: Sep 2013
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:sas:wpaper:20133
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  1. Bénabou, Roland & Ok, Efe A, 1998. "Social Mobility and the Demand for Redistribution: the POUM Hypothesis," CEPR Discussion Papers 1955, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  2. Erzo F. P. Luttmer, 2001. "Group Loyalty and the Taste for Redistribution," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 109(3), pages 500-528, June.
  3. Scheve, Kenneth & Stasavage, David, 2006. "Religion and Preferences for Social Insurance," Quarterly Journal of Political Science, now publishers, vol. 1(3), pages 255-286, July.
  4. Jean Tirole & Roland Bénabou, 2006. "Belief in Just World and Redistributive Politics," Post-Print hal-00173678, HAL.
  5. Alesina, Alberto F & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2002. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," CEPR Discussion Papers 3155, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  6. Corneo, Giacomo & Gruner, Hans Peter, 2002. "Individual preferences for political redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 83(1), pages 83-107, January.
  7. Fong, Christina, 2001. "Social preferences, self-interest, and the demand for redistribution," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 82(2), pages 225-246, November.
  8. Orazio P. Attanasio, 1998. "Cohort Analysis of Saving Behavior by U.S. Households," Journal of Human Resources, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 33(3), pages 575-609.
  9. Deaton, Angus & Paxson, Christina, 1994. "Intertemporal Choice and Inequality," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 102(3), pages 437-67, June.
  10. La Ferrara, Eliana & Alesina, Alberto, 2005. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," Scholarly Articles 4552533, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  11. Orazio Attanasio, 1993. "A cohort analysis of saving behaviour by US households," IFS Working Papers W93/04, Institute for Fiscal Studies.
  12. Thomas Cusack & Torben Iversen & Philipp Rehm, 2006. "Risks at Work: The Demand and Supply Sides of Government Redistribution," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 22(3), pages 365-389, Autumn.
  13. 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.
  14. Maria Grazia Pittau & Riccardo Massari & Roberto Zelli, 2013. "Hierarchical Modelling of Disparities in Preferences for Redistribution," Oxford Bulletin of Economics and Statistics, Department of Economics, University of Oxford, vol. 75(4), pages 556-584, 08.
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