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Transparency diminishes framing-effects in voting on redistribution: Some experimental evidence

Fabian Paetzel, Jan Lorenz and Markus Tepe

European Journal of Political Economy, 2018, vol. 55, issue C, 169-184

Abstract: This study analyzes whether enabling people to get informed about redistributive consequences is an effective measure to prevent equivalence framing in the domain of voting on redistribution. Utilizing the redistribution mechanism of the Meltzer-Richard model, an equivalent frame is induced by letting subjects vote either on a proportional tax rate or an outcome equivalent minimum net income. In a series of laboratory experiments, we find that framing effects both on the individually preferred and collectively agreed level of redistribution are tremendously strong if the information tool is not available (low transparency condition). Once subjects have access to the information tool (high transparency condition), the framing effect on individually preferred tax rates is significantly reduced, and after group communication, the framing effect is washed out from the collective decision. High transparency increases redistribution if subjects have to set a redistributive tax rate and lowers redistribution if subjects have to set a minimal income. Thus, the availability of the information tool has an asymmetric effect on the level of redistribution.

Keywords: Redistribution; Voting; Framing; Transparency; Minimal income (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: C91 C92 D72 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2018
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DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2017.12.002

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Handle: RePEc:eee:poleco:v:55:y:2018:i:c:p:169-184