Supporting Economic Redistribution (or Not): Determining Factors
Saturday, Jan. 6, 2018 8:00 AM - 10:00 AM
- Chair: Matthew Weinzierl, Harvard Business School
Spreading the Health: Americans' Estimated and Ideal Distributions of Death and Health(care)
AbstractThe 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act intensified debates over the role of government in the distribution of healthcare. A nationally-representative sample of Americans reported their estimated and ideal distributions of healthcare (unmet need for prescription medications) and death (gains in life expectancy). Respondents across the demographic and political spectrum wanted mortality and healthcare to be distributed more evenly among the rich and poor than they estimated them to be. For example, respondents estimated that Americans in the poorest quintile lived 1.5 months longer over the previous 20 years while those in the richest quintile lived 4.7 months longer, but reported ideal figures of 2.5 and 3.6 months - both were far more equal than the actual figures: -1.8 and 7.2 months. Despite heated debates about healthcare, Americans share a consensus belief that current disparities in death and healthcare are far from their ideals.
Reasons for Distributional Preferences
AbstractA recent literature in public economics has explored survey respondents' distributive preferences, considering the extent to which these preferences are based on utilitarian considerations, fairness norms, respect for property rights, and desert. Most of these papers have focused on asking respondents to rank tax policies or income distributions or to select taxes or transfers, although subjects were also sometimes asked whether they assent to certain moral principles. We argue that if normative analysis is to be informed by public sentiment it should be informed not just by rankings but also by principles and justifications for rankings. One can attempt to infer principles from rankings or choices or one can probe principles more directly. This paper focuses on the latter approach. Drawing on recent work in philosophy and decision theory that analyzes the justification of preference in terms of underlying reasons, we directly ask subjects about the reasons behind their distributional preferences and how they weight competing reasons to form overall judgments.
Income Mobility, Luck vs Effort Beliefs, and the Demand for Redistribution: Reality, Perceptions, and Dynamics
AbstractIt is well documented that beliefs about income mobility affect preferences for redistribution. We use a unique Swedish data set, which matches survey data to administrative data at the individual level, to jointly investigate perceived and real income mobility and their respective link to redistributive preferences. We ask to what extent perceptions of own income mobility match the actual mobility that has taken place, and whether it is a person’s perceived or real income mobility that is most predictive of her demand for redistribution, and of her beliefs about the relative role that luck and effort play in determining individual economic success. Further, our data allows us to better understand the intergenerational and intrapersonal dynamics of the latter beliefs. For example, do parents aim to strategically teach their children that effort matters more than luck? What is the causal impact of a positive mobility shock to luck/effort beliefs?
- H2 - Taxation, Subsidies, and Revenue
- D3 - Distribution