Aligning Preferences for Redistribution of Right and Left Wing Voters by Correcting Their Beliefs about Inequality: Evidence from a Randomized Survey Experiment in Australia
57 Pages Posted: 8 May 2019
Date Written: March 25, 2019
Are differences in preferences for redistribution between right and left wing voters amplified because of misperceptions of inequality? To answer this question, we conduct a nationally representative, randomized survey experiment of 2,584 Australians in which respondents either received information about the level of national inequality and economic mobility, their position in the national income distribution, or no information. We show that both types of information about inequality lead to convergence in preferences for redistribution and charitable giving between right and left wing voters. The effect from the treatments are predominantly due to right wing voters becoming more progressive in their views.
Keywords: inequality, social mobility, redistribution, political economy
JEL Classification: D31, D63, D72, D83, O50, P16, H23
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