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The subversive nature of inequality: Subjective inequality perceptions and attitudes to social inequality

Andreas Kuhn

European Journal of Political Economy, 2019, vol. 59, issue C, 331-344

Abstract: This paper shows that higher levels of perceived wage inequality are associated with a weaker (stronger) belief into meritocratic (non-meritocratic) principles as being important in determining individual wages. This finding is further corroborated using various complementary measures of individuals’ perception of the chances and risks associated with an unequal distribution of economic resources, such as their perception of the chances of upward mobility. I finally show that those individuals perceiving a high level of wage inequality also tend to be more supportive of redistributive policies and progressive taxation. Taken together, these findings suggest that high levels of perceived wage inequality do have the potential to undermine the legitimacy of market outcomes.

Keywords: Inequality perceptions; Attitudes to social inequality; Legitimacy of market outcomes; Beliefs about the causes of economic success; Support of redistribution (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 D63 J31 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2019
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Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:eee:poleco:v:59:y:2019:i:c:p:331-344

DOI: 10.1016/j.ejpoleco.2019.04.004

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