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Redistribution and beliefs about the source of income inequality

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posted on 2024-02-29, 13:11 authored by Vanessa Valero
AbstractPrevious 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. Specifically, I examine whether people form self-serving 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 first 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 influence their preferences over redistributive policies. However, I do not find that people’s beliefs about the causes of income inequality are further influenced 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 overconfidence and self-image concerns and not to justify favorable redistributive policies.

Funding

Swiss National Science Foundation

History

Citation

Valero, V. Redistribution and beliefs about the source of income inequality. Exp Econ 25, 876–901 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10683-021-09733-8

Author affiliation

College of Social Sci Arts and Humanities/School of Business

Version

  • VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Experimental Economics

Volume

25

Issue

3

Pagination

876 - 901

Publisher

Springer Science and Business Media LLC

issn

1386-4157

eissn

1573-6938

Acceptance date

2021-09-16

Copyright date

2021

Available date

2024-02-29

Language

en

Deposited by

Dr Vanessa Valero

Deposit date

2024-02-15

Rights Retention Statement

  • No

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