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Capital vs. Labour: the Effect of Income Sources on Attitudes Toward the Top 1 Percent

Oscar Barrera-Rodriguez and Emmanuel Chavez

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Abstract: We examine the impact of providing information on the income of the top 1% earners on attitudes towards this group. We focus on the income at the top derived from capital and labour, an aspect scarcely studied in previous literature. We carried out a randomized online survey with 2000 French respondents. Our findings reveal that: (i) at the baseline, respondents tend to overestimate the income of the top 1%, have no clear priors on their capital vs. labor shares, and want them to pay a higher income tax rate than the current one; (ii) providing quantitative information about the income sources at the top consistently shifts attitudes toward the rich to the unfavorable spectrum. This shift does not result from experimenter demand effects; (iii) individuals most responsive to our treatments vote for left-wing candidates and have egalitarian notions of justice.

Keywords: Top 1 percent; income tax; capital income shares (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2023-10
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