The redistributive preferences of the well-off

Abstract : We argue that the structure of inequality (not only its level) has an impact on redistributive preferences. We test this argument on the well-off, as they stand in a pivotal position between households that have a reduced capacity to contribute to taxation due to limitied labour income, and households with greater facility to achieve fiscal optimization thanks to capital income. Inequality is measured at different locations of the income distribution, nearby the income position of the well-off. Attitudes are measured through ISSP international survey, fielded from 1985 to 2006 across 19 countries. Consistent with Albert Hirschman's 'tunnel effect', our results show that support for redistribution amongst the well-off is conditioned by their prospect of mobility in both directions, proxied by the change in inequality next to them. Support amongst the well-off increases when their expected cost of downgrading rises, while it decreases when top incomes move further away in the income distribution.
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Elvire Guillaud, Michaël Zemmour. The redistributive preferences of the well-off. 2017. ⟨halshs-01652706⟩

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