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American Exceptionalism? Differences in the Elasticity of Preferences for Redistribution between the United States and Western Europe

Christopher Hoy and Franziska Mager
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Franziska Mager: Oxfam Great Britain

No 530, Working Papers from ECINEQ, Society for the Study of Economic Inequality

Abstract: Are lower levels of support for redistribution in the United States compared to Western Eu- rope due overly optimistic beliefs about mobility and inequality or fundamental differences in preferences? We test this through a randomized survey experiment with 6,601 respondents, half of which received information about mobility and inequality. The treatment led to greater polarization between Americans and Western Europeans. In the United States, the results were driven by respondents that do not prefer lower inequality. Our ndings illustrate that differences in redistributive preferences across the Atlantic are due to a greater underlying tolerance of inequality as opposed to incorrect beliefs.

Keywords: Inequality; Redistribution; Social Mobility; Political Economy. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D31 D63 D72 D83 P16 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 36 pages
Date: 2020-03
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
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