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Redistribution and beliefs about the source of income inequality

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journal contribution
posted on 15.10.2021, 11:02 by Vanessa ValeroVanessa Valero
Previous literature demonstrates that beliefs about the determinants of income inequality play a major role in individual support for income redistribution. This study investigates how people form beliefs regarding the extent to which work versus luck determines income inequality. Specifcally, I examine whether people form selfserving beliefs to justify supporting personally advantageous redistributive policies. I use a laboratory experiment where I directly measure beliefs and manipulate the incentives to engage in self-deception. I frst replicate earlier results demonstrating that (1) people attribute income inequality to work when they receive a high income and to luck when they receive a low income and (2) their beliefs about the source of income inequality infuence their preferences over redistributive policies. However, I do not fnd that people’s beliefs about the causes of income inequality are further infuenced by self-serving motivations based on a desire to justify favorable redistributive policies. I conclude that, in my experiment, self-serving beliefs about the causes of income inequality are driven primarily by overconfdence and self-image concerns and not to justify favorable redistributive policies.

Funding

Swiss National Science Foundation for support (grant number 100018_185176)

History

School

  • Business and Economics

Department

  • Economics

Published in

Experimental Economics

Pages

(26)

Publisher

SPRINGER

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Rights holder

© The authors

Publisher statement

This is an Open Access Article. It is published by Springer under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Unported Licence (CC BY). Full details of this licence are available at: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/

Acceptance date

16/09/2021

Publication date

2021-09-27

ISSN

1386-4157

eISSN

1573-6938

Language

en

Depositor

Dr Vanessa Valero. Deposit date: 13 October 2021