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Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution†

Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution† AbstractUsing new cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in France, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about social mobility. Our randomized treatment shows pessimistic information about mobility and increases support for redistribution, mostly for “equality of opportunity” policies. We find strong political polarization. Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about mobility: their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions; and they support more redistribution after seeing pessimistic information. None of this is true for right-wing respondents, possibly because they see the government as a “problem” and not as the “solution.” (JEL D63, D72, H23, H24, J31, J62) http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png American Economic Review American Economic Association

Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution†

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Publisher
American Economic Association
Copyright
Copyright © 2018 © American Economic Association
ISSN
0002-8282
DOI
10.1257/aer.20162015
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

AbstractUsing new cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in France, Italy, Sweden, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about social mobility. Our randomized treatment shows pessimistic information about mobility and increases support for redistribution, mostly for “equality of opportunity” policies. We find strong political polarization. Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about mobility: their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions; and they support more redistribution after seeing pessimistic information. None of this is true for right-wing respondents, possibly because they see the government as a “problem” and not as the “solution.” (JEL D63, D72, H23, H24, J31, J62)

Journal

American Economic ReviewAmerican Economic Association

Published: Feb 1, 2018

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