Preference for Redistribution: Does the Recipient's Residency Status, Education, and Volunteering Matter?


  • Grimalda
  • G.
  • Detlefsen
  • L.
  • Paetzel
  • F.
  • Schütt
  • C.A.

It has been argued that ethnic heterogeneity negatively affects the willingness of the wealthier ethnic majority to redistribute resources to the typically less affluent ethnic minority. Using a general population sample of German citizens, we analyze how preferences for redistribution depend on the characteristics of the recipients. We systematically vary information on (i) the recipients' residential status (asylum seekers, economic migrants, German citizens) and (ii) their characteristics (educational attainment, engagement in voluntary work). These variations allow us to disentangle the effect of the recipient's ethnicity and characteristics on redistributive preferences. Overall, we find discrimination against foreign recipients, with German citizens receiving significantly higher transfers. While having a university degree does not affect redistribution on average, participation in voluntary work significantly increases redistribution. This effect is particularly strong for asylum seekers compared to German citizens and economic migrants. In particular, participants on the right of the political spectrum react significantly to migrants' characteristics. These results suggest that immigration policy should focus more on the communication of social engagement than on education in order to increase the acceptance of immigration.


JEL Classification
C92, D31, D63, H23, J15


  • Umverteilung
  • Einwanderung
  • Diskriminierung
  • Bildung
  • Gemeinschaftsarbeit