Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence

78 Pages Posted: 3 May 2014

See all articles by Andrew Clark

Andrew Clark

Paris School of Economics (PSE); IZA Institute of Labor Economics

Conchita D'Ambrosio

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS)

Abstract

We review the survey and experimental findings in the literature on attitudes to income inequality. We interpret the latter as any disparity in incomes between individuals. We classify these findings into two broad types of individual attitudes towards the income distribution in a society: the normative and the comparative view. The first can be thought of as the individual's disinterested evaluation of income inequality; on the contrary, the second view reflects self-interest, as individual's inequality attitudes depend not only on how much income they receive but also on how much they receive compared to others. We conclude with a number of extensions, outstanding issues and suggestions for future research.

Keywords: attitudes, distribution, experiments, income inequality, life satisfaction, reference groups

JEL Classification: C91, D31, D63, I31

Suggested Citation

Clark, Andrew Eric and D'Ambrosio, Conchita, Attitudes to Income Inequality: Experimental and Survey Evidence. IZA Discussion Paper No. 8136. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2432400

Andrew Eric Clark (Contact Author)

Paris School of Economics (PSE) ( email )

48 Boulevard Jourdan
Paris, 75014 75014
France

IZA Institute of Labor Economics

P.O. Box 7240
Bonn, D-53072
Germany

Conchita D'Ambrosio

Università degli Studi di Milano-Bicocca - Center for Interdisciplinary Studies in Economics, Psychology & Social Sciences (CISEPS) ( email )

Piazza dell'Ateneo Nuovo, 1
Milano, 20126
Italy

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