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Meltzer-Richard and social mobility hypothesis: revisiting the income-redistribution nexus using German choice data

Pfarr, Christian (2012): Meltzer-Richard and social mobility hypothesis: revisiting the income-redistribution nexus using German choice data.

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Abstract

Whereas the supply of redistribution is relatively easy to measure, the determinants of the demand for redistribution are controversially discussed in international literature. Economic theory typically models redistribution as the result of a voting mechanism; this is only inadequately reflected by the existing empirical studies. In general, these studies use survey data and are therefore not able to predict individuals’ decision making under the restriction of a budget constraint. This study aims at eliciting preferences for redistribution in Germany with the help of a Discrete Choice Experiment (DCE), based on a representative sample of 1,538 individuals. A DCE solves the aforementioned problems by forcing individuals to overcome trade-offs. The results show a strong preference for redistribution that overshoots the current level. Considering socio-demographic characteristics, the results contradict the Meltzer-Richard-Model and the POUM hypothesis, while Piketty’s learning model is strongly supported by the data.

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