Autonomy Freedom and Preferences for Redistribution
44 Pages Posted: 23 Jan 2007
Date Written: January 23, 2007
In this paper we study the determinants of people's attitudes toward income inequality and their consequences for redistributive policies. In the light of a recent literature in social choice theory, we argue that an individual's attitudes toward inequality depend upon the extent of autonomy freedom he/she enjoys. We use individual level data to validate our theory and show that the higher the extent of an individual's autonomy freedom, the greater the probability that he/she supports larger income differences as incentives for individual effort. Conversely, the lower the extent of autonomy freedom, the more likely he/she supports the view that incomes should be made more equal. These findings appear to be robust to different model specifications even after controlling for a large set of both socio-economic variables and individual characteristics.
Keywords: Freedom, Fairness, Social Mobility
JEL Classification: D31, D63, H23
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation