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Beautiful inequality: Are beautiful people more willing to redistribute?

Andrea Fazio ()

No 194, Working Papers in Public Economics from University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Economics and Law

Abstract: As winners of the "genetic lottery", beautiful people have several advantages over their life course: they earn more, find better jobs, and are happier than their peers. We investigate whether good-looking individuals are willing to share their fortune by supporting income redistribution. Using German data, we show that beauty is associated with lower support for redistribution. Furthermore, we show that attractive individuals are more likely to believe that income should be based solely on individual achievements. To check whether the set of questions used to measure taste for redistribution captures the underlying preferences, we then inves- tigate a possible correlation between voting behavior and beauty. We show that beauty correlates with voting for the Free Democratic Party (FDP) thus suggesting that the correlation between beauty and preferences for redistribution is channeled through party affiliation. Our findings resist to a broad set of robustness checks. A plausible mechanism that drives our findings is the self-serving bias, that is to say: people tend to attribute success to their own merit and failure to external factors. Overall, our results suggest that benefiting from random luck, such as winning the "genetic lottery", reduces taste for redistribution.

Keywords: Beauty; Self-Serving Bias; Preferences for Redistribution; Luck (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D63 D69 D72 Z1 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 37
Date: 2021-01
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