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Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution

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  • Gilles Le Garrec

    (Observatoire français des conjonctures économiques)

Abstract

When studying redistributive attitudes, surveys show that individuals do care about fairness. They also show that the cultural environment in which individuals grow up aspects their preferences about redistribution. In this article we include these two components of the demand for redistribution in order to develop a mechanism for the cultural transmission of the concern for fairness. The preferences of the young are partially shaped through the observation and imitation of others.choices in a way that is consistent with the so- cialization process. More specifically, observing during childhood how adults have collectively failed to implement fair redistributive policies lowers the concern for fairness or the moral cost of not supporting fair taxation. Based on this mechanism, the model exhibits a multiplicity of history-dependent steady states that may account for the huge and persistent differences in redistribution observed between Europe and the United States. It also explains why immigrants from countries with a preference for greater redistribution continue to support higher redistribution in their destination country.

Suggested Citation

  • Gilles Le Garrec, 2014. "Fairness, socialization and the cultural deman for redistribution," Sciences Po publications 2014-20, Sciences Po.
  • Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/13pk3v50kg9i9q98f7erie10rb
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Redistribution; fairness; majority rule; socialization; endogenous preference;

    JEL classification:

    • H53 - Public Economics - - National Government Expenditures and Related Policies - - - Government Expenditures and Welfare Programs
    • D63 - Microeconomics - - Welfare Economics - - - Equity, Justice, Inequality, and Other Normative Criteria and Measurement
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior

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