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How do Economic Circumstances Determine Preferences? Evidence from Long-run Panel Data

O'Grady, TD; (2018) How do Economic Circumstances Determine Preferences? Evidence from Long-run Panel Data. British Journal of Political Science 10.1017/S0007123417000242. (In press). Green open access

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Abstract

Preferences for redistribution and social spending are correlated with income and unemployment risk, but it is unclear how these relationships come about. I build a theory emphasizing that only large changes in economic circumstances provide the information and motivation needed for people to change their preferences. Stable long-run preferences are shaped mainly by early socialization, which includes economic and ideological influences from the family, and early labor market experiences. Enduring shocks, low intergenerational mobility and the tendency of left-wing parents to be poorer generate correlations between circumstances and preferences. Because preferences are stable, greater inequality may not increase aggregate support for redistribution. Support is found for the theory with panel data from Switzerland, using a range of empirical tests.

Type: Article
Title: How do Economic Circumstances Determine Preferences? Evidence from Long-run Panel Data
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1017/S0007123417000242
Publisher version: http://doi.org/10.1017/S0007123417000242
Language: English
Additional information: This version is the author accepted manuscript. For information on re-use, please refer to the publisher’s terms and conditions.
Keywords: redistribution; social policy; public opinion; comparative political economy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Dept of Political Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10033116
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