Experienced Inequality and Preferences for Redistribution
70 Pages Posted: 14 Jul 2016 Last revised: 24 Sep 2018
Date Written: August 8, 2018
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: Suggested Citation