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Preferences for Inequality: East vs. West

  • Marc Suhrcke
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    Do preferences for income inequality differ systematically between the post-socialist countries of Central and Eastern Europe and the Western established market economies? This paper analyses 1999 data from a large international survey to address this question. In particular, we examine whether attitudes to inequality differ between East and West even after the 'conventional' determinants of attitudes are controlled for. Results suggest that this is indeed the case. A decade after the breakdown of communism, people in transition countries are indeed significantly more 'egalitarian' than those living in the West, in the sense that they are less willing to tolerate existing income inequalities, even after the actual level of income inequality and other determinants of attitudes are taken into account.

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    Paper provided by Innocenti Working Papers in its series Papers with number inwopa01/17.

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    Length: 46
    Date of creation: 2001
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa01/17
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    1. 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.
    2. Alberto Alesina & Eliana La Ferrara, 2001. "Preferences for Redistribution in the Land of Opportunities," NBER Working Papers 8267, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Romer, Thomas, 1975. "Individual welfare, majority voting, and the properties of a linear income tax," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 4(2), pages 163-185, February.
    4. repec:ebd:wpaper:56 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(9-10), pages 2009-2042, August.
    6. Gros, Daniel & Suhrcke, Marc, 2000. "Ten years after : what is special about transition countries?," HWWA Discussion Papers 86, Hamburg Institute of International Economics (HWWA).
    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. Christian Keller & Peter S. Heller, 2001. "Social Sector Reform in Transition Countries," IMF Working Papers 01/35, International Monetary Fund.
    9. Piketty, Thomas, 1996. "Mobilité économique et attitudes politiques face à la redistribution," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9603, CEPREMAP.
    10. Flemming, J.S. & Micklewright, John, 2000. "Income distribution, economic systems and transition," Handbook of Income Distribution, in: A.B. Atkinson & F. Bourguignon (ed.), Handbook of Income Distribution, edition 1, volume 1, chapter 14, pages 843-918 Elsevier.
    11. Albert O. Hirschman & Michael Rothschild, 1973. "The Changing Tolerance for Income Inequality in the Course of Economic DevelopmentWith A Mathematical Appendix," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 87(4), pages 544-566.
    12. Meltzer, Allan H & Richard, Scott F, 1981. "A Rational Theory of the Size of Government," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(5), pages 914-27, October.
    13. Piketty, Thomas, 1999. "Attitudes toward income inequality in France: Do people really disagree?," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9918, CEPREMAP.
    14. Thomas Piketty, 1995. "Social Mobility and Redistributive Politics," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 110(3), pages 551-584.
    15. Delhey, Jan, 1999. "Inequality and attitudes: postcommunism, western capitalism and beyond," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Social Structure and Social Reporting FS III 99-403, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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