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Self-centered Inequity Aversion and the Mass Politics of Taxing the Rich

10 giugno 2013
Ex Boccherini - Piazza S. Ponziano 6 (Conference Room )
The politics of economic crises bring distributive economic conflict to the fore of national political debates. How policy should be used to transfer resources between citizens becomes a central political question and the answers chosen often influence the trajectory of policy for a generation. This context provides an ideal setting for evaluating the importance of self-interest and other-regarding preferences in shaping public opinion about economic policy. This paper argues that self-interest and self-centered inequity aversion influence individual tax policy opinions. We conduct original survey experiments in France and the United States and provide evidence that individuals care both about how policy alternatives affect their own interests and how they influence the welfare of others relative to themselves. Our estimates suggest that disadvantageous inequality aversion---utility losses when others have better economic outcomes---is a particularly powerful determinant of tax policy preferences.
Scheve, Kenneth - Stanford University - Stanford