Working Paper

Why do Preferences for Redistribution Differ Across Countries?


  • Grimalda
  • G.
  • Farina
  • F.
  • Conte
  • A.
  • Schmidt
  • U.
Publication Date

We test for different theories purporting to explain cross-country differences in income redistribution through standardized experimental choices. US Americans and Italians demand less redistribution than Norwegians and Germans, regardless of whether self-interest is relevant. Those earning (or expecting to earn) below-median incomes behave as "libertarians" more frequently in the US and Italy than in Germany and Norway. Above-the-median earners behave similarly across countries. Higher overconfidence by US Americans and Italians further reduces their demand for redistribution under uncertainty. The "Prospect of Upward Mobility" hypothesis holds similarly in all countries. US Americans do not reward individual merit more than others.

Kiel Institute Expert


JEL Classification
C92; D63; H23; O57

Key Words

  • Cross-country research
  • experiment
  • Income Redistribution
  • inequality
  • Merit
  • overconfidence
  • Prospects of Upward Mobility
  • Selbstüberschätzung

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