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More Inequality, Fewer Class Differences: The Paradox of Attitudes to Redistribution Across European Countries

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image of Comparative Sociology
For content published from 1960-2001, see International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

This article investigates how income inequality affects class differences in attitudes to redistribution. Drawing on the fourth wave (2008–09) of the European Values Study, it provides a multilevel analysis covering 44 nations. The main finding is that class differences in attitudes to redistribution tend to fade out in more unequal countries, not because higher classes converge toward more pro-redistributive positions, but because working class people become less egalitarian. This result proved to be robust with respect to several checks and to the inclusion of different control variables, both economic and non-economic. The interpretation of these puzzling findings points to the role of various societal and cultural factors, such as social mobility, political discourse and individualistic values.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Cultures, Politics, and Society, University of Torino Torino Italy renzo.carriero@unito.it

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2016-02-16
2017-11-23

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