Thursday, March 26, 2015

Ilyana Kuziemko et al — What Do Americans Think Should Be Done About Inequality?

A new online survey of some 10,000 Americans’ reaction to growing income inequal- ity offers novel insight into public perceptions of inequality and what—if anything— should be done about it. The survey first presents some respondents with information about the extent of inequality—for example, by displaying how much more income a respondent would earn if increases in economic growth since 1980 had been more evenly distributed—and then assesses their attitudes toward inequality and policies aimed at ameliorating gaps between rich and poor, compared to other respondents who did not see the information. The survey shows that while respondents who view information about inequality are more likely to believe that inequality is a serious problem, they show no more appetite for many government interventions to reduce inequality— with the notable exceptions of increasing the estate tax and the minimum wage....

Importantly, our results also suggest that this aversion to government intervention is due to a deep level of distrust in government. In a sense, respondents who have learned the role of government in creating the current level of inequality seem to be telling us they do not trust that government is also the entity to address the problem.
This last finding is, to our knowledge, the first direct evidence of the causal effects of trust in government on redistributive policy preferences. Our findings highlight the potential role of mistrust in government in limiting enthusiasm among the general public to certain kinds of government policy programs—such as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program and the Earned Income Tax Credit—designed to help close the wealth and income gap.

Research into the connection between mistrust of government and policy prefer- ences is only just beginning. For instance, economists Paola Sapienza at Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management and Luigi Zingales at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business find that Americans support higher auto fuel stan- dards over a carbon tax-3and-rebate program because they do not trust the government to in fact rebate the tax. Given that by most measures, Americans trust in government is at record lows, future work on its consequences would be welcome.... 
What Do Americans Think Should Be Done About Inequality?
Ilyana Kuziemko, Michael Norton, Emmanuel Saez, and Stefanie Stantcheva
ht Brad DeLong
Ilyana Kuziemko is an economics professor at Princeton University, Michael Norton is a professor of business administration and marketing at Harvard Business School, Emmanuel Saez is an economics professor at the University of California-Berkeley, and Stefanie Stantcheva is an economist at Harvard University


Peter Pan said...

An indication that change will not be forthcoming from the mainstream and that the population is aware of this.

Activists and chattering class pundits take note.

Peter Pan said...

For your consideration, American Marxist Richard Wolff.
He discusses his experiences as a student, his career as a professor, and the changes that have occurred in his life since the GFC of 2008.
This is followed by an analysis of capitalism, and a Q&A session.