Experienced Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution

71 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016 Last revised: 9 Aug 2018

Christopher Roth

briq Institute on Behavior and Inequality

Johannes Wohlfart

Goethe University Frankfurt - House of Finance

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: August 8, 2018

Abstract

We examine whether individuals’ experienced levels of income inequality affect their preferences for redistribution. We use several large nationally representative datasets to show that people who have experienced higher inequality during their lives are less in favor of redistribution, after controlling for income, demographics, unemployment experiences and current macroeconomic conditions. They are also less likely to support left-wing parties and to consider the prevailing distribution of incomes to be unfair. We provide evidence that these findings do not operate through extrapolation from own circumstances, perceived relative income or trust in the political system, but seem to operate through the respondents’ fairness views.

Keywords: Inequality, Redistribution, Macroeconomic Experiences, Fairness

JEL Classification: P16, E60, Z13

Suggested Citation

Roth, Christopher and Wohlfart, Johannes, Experienced Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution (August 8, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2809655 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2809655

Christopher Roth (Contact Author)

briq Institute on Behavior and Inequality ( email )

Johannes Wohlfart

Goethe University Frankfurt - House of Finance ( email )

Grüneburgplatz 1
Frankfurt am Main, 60323
Germany

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