Understanding Preferences for Income Redistribution
44 Pages Posted: 3 Dec 2004 Last revised: 24 Apr 2011
Date Written: June 20, 2007
Recent research suggests that income redistribution preferences vary across identity groups. We employ statistical learning methods which emphasize pattern recognition, classification and regression trees (CARTTM) and random forests (RandomForestsTM), to uncover what these groups are. Using data from the General Social Survey, we find that, out of a large set of identity markers, only race, gender, age, and socioeconomic class are important classifiers for income redistribution preferences. Further, the uncovered identity groupings are characterized by complex patterns of interaction amongst these salient classifiers. We explore the extent to which existing theories of income redistribution can explain our results, but conclude that current approaches do not fully explain the findings.
Keywords: Data mining, classification and regression trees, redistribution preferences, welfare, identity
JEL Classification: C45, C49, H50, H53
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation