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Preferences for Inequality: East vs. West

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  • Marc Suhrcke

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Marc Suhrcke, 2001. "Preferences for Inequality: East vs. West," Papers inwopa01/17, Innocenti Working Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucf:inwopa:inwopa01/17
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    3. 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.
    4. Alesina, Alberto & Di Tella, Rafael & MacCulloch, Robert, 2004. "Inequality and happiness: are Europeans and Americans different?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 2009-2042.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & La Ferrara, Eliana, 2005. "Preferences for redistribution in the land of opportunities," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, pages 897-931.
    6. Andrew Newell & Barry Reilly, 1999. "Rates of Return to Educational Qualifications in the Transitional Economies," Education Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 7(1), pages 67-84.
    7. 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.
    8. Gerry Redmond & Sylke Schnepf & Marc Suhrcke, 2002. "Attitudes to Inequality after Ten Years of Transition," Papers inwopa02/21, Innocenti Working Papers.
    9. 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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    Cited by:

    1. Hennighausen, Tanja, 2015. "Exposure to television and individual beliefs: Evidence from a natural experiment," Journal of Comparative Economics, Elsevier, vol. 43(4), pages 956-980.
    2. Lübker, Malte., 2005. "Globalization and perceptions of social inequality," ILO Working Papers 993761673402676, International Labour Organization.
    3. Tiiu Paas, 2003. "Social Consequences of Transition and European Integration Processes in the Baltic States," ERSA conference papers ersa03p382, European Regional Science Association.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    economic transition; social indicators; social monitoring; social planning;

    JEL classification:

    • P27 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies - - - Performance and Prospects
    • P36 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions - - - Consumer Economics; Health; Education and Training; Welfare, Income, Wealth, and Poverty

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