Equality or Crime? Redistribution Preferences and the Externalities of Inequality in Western Europe

Abstract

Why is the difference in redistribution preferences between the rich and the poor high in some countries and low in others? In this paper we argue that it has a lot to do with the preferences of the rich and very little to do with the preferences of the poor. We contend that while there is a general relative income effect on redistribution preferences, the preferences of the rich are highly dependent on the macro-level of inequality. The reason for this effect is not related to pocketbook considerations but to a negative externality of inequality: crime. We will show that the rich in more unequal regions in Western Europe are more supportive of redistribution than the rich in more equal regions because of their concern with crime. In making these distinctions between the poor and the rich, the arguments in this paper challenge some influential approaches to the politics of inequality.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Rueda2013EqualityOC, title={Equality or Crime? Redistribution Preferences and the Externalities of Inequality in Western Europe}, author={David Rodr{\'i}guez Rueda and Daniel Stegmueller}, year={2013} }