Inequality and redistribution behavior in a give-or-take game

View Researcher's Other Codes

Disclaimer: The provided code links for this paper are external links. Science Nest has no responsibility for the accuracy, legality or content of these links. Also, by downloading this code(s), you agree to comply with the terms of use as set out by the author(s) of the code(s).

Authors Michael M. Bechtel, Roman Liesch, Kenneth F. Scheve
Journal/Conference Name Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Paper Category
Paper Abstract Political polarization and extremism are widely thought to be driven by the surge in economic inequality in many countries around the world. Understanding why inequality persists depends on knowing the causal effect of inequality on individual behavior. We study how inequality affects redistribution behavior in a randomized "give-or-take" experiment that created equality, advantageous inequality, or disadvantageous inequality between two individuals before offering one of them the opportunity to either take from or give to the other. We estimate the causal effect of inequality in representative samples of German and American citizens (n = 4,966) and establish two main findings. First, individuals imperfectly equalize payoffs: On average, respondents transfer 12% of the available endowments to realize more equal wealth distributions. This means that respondents tolerate a considerable degree of inequality even in a setting in which there are no costs to redistribution. Second, redistribution behavior in response to disadvantageous and advantageous inequality is largely asymmetric: Individuals who take from those who are richer do not also tend to give to those who are poorer, and individuals who give to those who are poorer do not tend to take from those who are richer. These behavioral redistribution types correlate in meaningful ways with support for heavy taxes on the rich and the provision of welfare benefits for the poor. Consequently, it seems difficult to construct a majority coalition willing to back the type of government interventions needed to counter rising inequality.
Date of publication 2018
Code Programming Language R
Comment

Copyright Researcher 2021