Inequality Aversion and Voting on Redistribution

31 Pages Posted: 24 Jun 2011

See all articles by Wolfgang Höchtl

Wolfgang Höchtl

University of Innsbruck - Department of Economics

Rupert Sausgruber

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics

Jean-Robert Tyran

University of Vienna; University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

Date Written: June 23, 2011

Abstract

Some people have a concern for a fair distribution of incomes while others do not. Does such a concern matter for majority voting on redistribution? Fairness preferences are relevant for redistribution outcomes only if fair-minded voters are pivotal. Pivotality, in turn, depends on the structure of income classes. We experimentally study voting on redistribution between two income classes and show that the effect of inequality aversion is asymmetric. Inequality aversion is more likely to matter if the “rich” are in majority. With a “poor” majority, we find that redistribution outcomes look as if all voters were exclusively motivated by self-interest.

Keywords: redistribution, self interest, inequality aversion, median voter, experiment

JEL Classification: A13, C9, D72

Suggested Citation

Höchtl, Wolfgang and Sausgruber, Rupert and Tyran, Jean-Robert, Inequality Aversion and Voting on Redistribution (June 23, 2011). Univ. of Copenhagen Dept. of Economics Discussion Paper No. 11-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1871723 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1871723

Wolfgang Höchtl

University of Innsbruck - Department of Economics ( email )

Austria

Rupert Sausgruber

Vienna University of Economics and Business - Department of Economics ( email )

Welthandelsplatz 1
Vienna, 1020
Austria
+43 1 31336 4572 (Phone)

Jean-Robert Tyran (Contact Author)

University of Vienna ( email )

Oskar-Morgenstern-Platz 1
Vienna, Vienna 1090
Austria

HOME PAGE: http://homepage.univie.ac.at/jean-robert.tyran/

University of Copenhagen - Department of Economics ( email )

Øster Farimagsgade 5
Bygning 26
1353 Copenhagen K.
Denmark
+45 353 23 027 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.econ.ku.dk/tyran/

Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

London
United Kingdom

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