Intergenerational Mobility and Support for Redistribution

90 Pages Posted: 11 Jan 2017

See all articles by Alberto F. Alesina

Alberto F. Alesina

Harvard University - Department of Economics; Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR); National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

Stefanie Stantcheva

Harvard University - Department of Economics

Edoardo Teso

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS)

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: January 2017

Abstract

Using new cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in France, Italy, Sweden, the U.K., and the U.S.. Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about social mobility. Our randomized treatment shows pessimistic information about mobility and increases support for redistribution, mostly for "equality of opportunity" policies. We find a strong political polarization. Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about mobility, their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions, and they support more redistribution after seeing pessimistic information. None of these apply to right-wing respondents, possibly because they see the government as a "problem" and not as the "solution."

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Stantcheva, Stefanie and Teso, Edoardo, Intergenerational Mobility and Support for Redistribution (January 2017). NBER Working Paper No. w23027, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2895880

Alberto F. Alesina (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

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Centre for Economic Policy Research (CEPR)

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National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER)

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Stefanie Stantcheva

Harvard University - Department of Economics ( email )

Littauer Center
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

HOME PAGE: http://scholar.harvard.edu/stantcheva/home

Edoardo Teso

Northwestern University - Department of Managerial Economics and Decision Sciences (MEDS) ( email )

2001 Sheridan Road
Evanston, IL 60208
United States

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