Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution

92 Pages Posted: 9 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 newly collected cross-country survey and experimental data, we investigate how beliefs about intergenerational mobility affect preferences for redistribution in five countries: France, Italy, Sweden, U.K., and U.S.. Americans are more optimistic than Europeans about intergenerational mobility, and too optimistic relative to actual mobility. Our randomized treatment that shows respondents pessimistic information about mobility increases support for redistribution, mostly for equality of opportunity policies. A strong political polarization exists: Left-wing respondents are more pessimistic about intergenerational mobility, their preferences for redistribution are correlated with their mobility perceptions, and they respond to pessimistic information by increasing support for redistribution. None of these apply to right-wing respondents, possibly because of their extremely negative views of government.

Keywords: Fairness, intergenerational mobility, Online Experiment, redistribution, taxation

JEL Classification: D31, D72, H21, H23, H24

Suggested Citation

Alesina, Alberto F. and Stantcheva, Stefanie and Teso, Edoardo, Intergenerational Mobility and Preferences for Redistribution (January 2017). CEPR Discussion Paper No. DP11738, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2896008

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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United Kingdom

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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