Doctoral thesis
Open access

From Fairness Evaluation to Preferences and Vote. An Analysis of Individuals’ Demand for Redistribution in 14 Countries

Number of pages201
Imprimatur date2022-11-01
Defense date2022-10-04

Large income inequalities have strong negative impacts on lower and middle-income classes and harm the social cohesion of western societies. Yet, despite the fact that a majority of the population would benefit from more redistributive policies, elected officials pushing for such an agenda rarely constitute a majority in national assemblies. This thesis studies the role of the individual’s demand for redistribution in this puzzle. To do so, it shed lights on the combined effects of self-interest and fairness evaluations on preferences for redistribution and electoral demands for redistribution. In a first step, the author looks at the role of perceived inequalities and an individual’s position in the income distribution on their distributive fairness evaluations. In a second step, he studies how fairness evaluations and self-interest affect preferences for redistribution. In the last part, he analyzes the (missing) link between individual preferences for redistribution and their vote choice. Using the Inequality and Politics dataset, a public opinion survey implemented in thirteen West European countries and the United States in 2019, and experiment data collected by the author, the results show an attrition of demand for redistribution. In a nutshell, the journey between one’s perceptions of inequality to an electoral action against it faces three important hurdles: 1. perceived high level of inequality are not necessarily evaluated as unfair, 2) inequalities perceived as being unfair do not trigger systematic preferences for redistribution, and 3) preferences for redistribution of the lower and the middle-class translate poorly into electoral demands for redistribution.

  • Inequality
  • Demand for redistribution
  • Preferences for redistribution
  • Electoral behavior
  • Welfare state
  • Redistributive policies
  • Cross-pressure voting
  • Redistributive experiment
  • Inequality and politics
Citation (ISO format)
LASCOMBES, Davy-Kim. From Fairness Evaluation to Preferences and Vote. An Analysis of Individuals’ Demand for Redistribution in 14 Countries. 2022. doi: 10.13097/archive-ouverte/unige:164896
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